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IEQ Testing Services

Category Press Release
Publish Date 3/12/2020
Author Paul Cochrane
Title School to Relocate Students for the Remainder of the Semester After Benzene Discovered in Soil from Two Septic Systems
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides environmental and indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services, sampling supplies, test kits and monitoring instruments to identify potential exposure hazards.

New York, NY, March 12th , 2020

Multiple media outlets recently reported that administrators for a middle school in New York have decided to relocate all of the students that attend for the remainder of the school year. The decision was made after an environmental consulting firm that has been investigating the facility announced it had found soil samples from two different septic systems that contained elevated levels of benzene.

There had reportedly been complaints about foul odors in the school and some parents believe the odors were making their children sick. The school stated that preliminary air tests did not detect benzene inside of the building but that more tests had been scheduled.

Benzene is widely used in the United States and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor that readily evaporates in air and dissolves slightly in water. Benzene has many applications and can be used to make other chemicals which are then used to make plastics, resins, nylon and other synthetic fibers. It is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. Benzene is also a component of crude oil, gasoline and even cigarette smoke.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans so it’s important that people are not exposed to it,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Breathing elevated levels of benzene can also cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion and even unconsciousness. In some situations, benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can enter a building if the soil or groundwater is contaminated through a process known as vapor intrusion.”

The environmental and industrial hygiene scientists at EMSL Analytical, Inc. are dedicated to identifying benzene and other VOCs due to vapor intrusion or from contaminated soil or water. With multiple laboratories in New York and dozens more across North America, EMSL offers laboratory testing, sampling supplies and monitoring instruments to detect a wide range of chemical and microbial contaminants to prevent exposure risks.

EMSL has sponsored an educational video about exposure risks to benzene in the home and at work that can be seen at:

To learn more about vapor intrusion, air quality or other environmental testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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