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Town Square

Toxic vapors found in NASA Ames buildings

Original post made on Apr 26, 2013

The Department of Defense has found toxic vapors in several buildings at Moffett Federal Airfield, buildings that are in use by the public, the military and NASA employees.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 26, 2013, 12:52 PM

Comments

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Posted by Chrome Dome
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

This is because of all the alien technology they have hidden out there in the hangars. I'm not surprised.


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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm

At least there isn't any second-hand cigarette smoke. Everyone knows that stuff will kill you INSTANTLY.


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Posted by Concerned Military Resident
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

How does this affect the foods that we eat? How are families that purchase food here being notified of this?


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Posted by MIchael
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:49 pm

It's a shame that our hard working citizens and members of the armed forces are being exposed to this with little knowledge of what's around them. We must stop this from happening and obtain better ways of monitoring toxic waste disposal.


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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:05 pm

To Concerned Military Resident:

The relevant part of the article says, "At the commissary, 13 air samples were taken throughout the building. TCE was found in work areas at the same levels as outdoor air, while samples were slightly above outdoor air levels for PCE. ...

"Strangely, TCE was was below cleanup levels in both the commissary and the conference center with heating and ventilation systems off, indicating a problem with the HVAC systems in each building, Neither building has systems to keep toxic vapors out of the buildings.

"The outdoor air at Moffett was also tested. In 29 air samples, TCE was found as high as .24 micrograms per cubic meter and PCE as high as .21 micrograms per cubic meter."

In other words, the commissary levels are low where people work (i.e., where food is displayed and where customers gather) and outdoors: "The EPA's toxic vapor limits for a workplace are 5 micrograms per cubic meter for TCE and 2 for PCE, levels designed to protect against cancer from decades of exposure when workers are exposed during a full work week."

The only high level noted is in a crawl space under the commissary, where people and foods are not located. ("The highest level, 6.1 micrograms per cubic meter of TCE, was found in the crawl space under room 110. The report notes there is a crawlspace under the entire building.")

The difference between to two areas indicates to me that the high levels in the crawl space are not migrating into the building.


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Posted by Bobby
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2013 at 5:28 am

Perhaps if people just chill out and let Google rent some hangar space, then NASA and the Navy would have more money for things like cleanup.


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Posted by Pam
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm

My husband from NASA just died unexpectedly at 50 and worked there.


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Posted by Brown
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 6:10 am

Are there public notices regarding this information besides this news report? It is suggested notices be posted of toxic exposure in these areas even the commissary.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 6:17 am

All military deserve to have all areas used by them tested and reported back to them with results.


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Posted by Politicalinsider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Its bad over there. It is 1940's technology buried in the soils, 1960's radiation experiments, anything goes mentality because its the FEDS prior to 1970. Pam I am so sorry you lost your husband at the young age of 50. Wrongful death, just maybe. This council BTW loves Ames, they can never do wrong.


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Posted by closeEye
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm

As an employee in Bldg 210, I can say that the employees (at least in N210) are kept abreast of the risks and what is being done about them. I'd guess the workers that were unaware were only in the building for short periods each day (as indicated in the article), and just as important, were likely contractors (contracts are re-competed every few years and there is significant turnover in the workforce for services contracts). The EPA limits are for 8 hrs a day, 5 days per week, 20+ yrs exposure. As for the source? no need to look for extraterrestrial or radiation causes. TCEs (the primary offender for the MEW superfund site) is a solvent that was in common industrial use for years... mostly in the early chip industry locally.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2015 at 3:24 am

Several of the people in building 210 at NASA Ames Research Center have autoimmune disease and cancer in the areas testing with high levels of TCEs. Bear in mind, the majority of these chemicals actually came from companies across from Moffett Field on the other side of 101 freeway. The Raytheon site is one of three Superfund sites that are being cleaned up simultaneously. The other two Superfund sites are the Fairchild Semiconductor Corp - Mountain View site and the Intel - Mountain View site. All three sites are located in the Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman (MEW) Study Area. People need to understand the underground water is where the chemicals lie and the vapors come up from underground. The tidal marshes and slough along the shoreline holds the water in keeping it from going away from the Ames campus.

Several of the people in building 210 at NASA Ames Research Center have autoimmune disease and cancer in the areas testing with high levels of TCEs. Bear in mind, the majority of these chemicals actually came from companies across from Moffett Field on the other side of 101 freeway. The Raytheon site is one of three Superfund sites that are being cleaned up simultaneously. The other two Superfund sites are the Fairchild Semiconductor Corp - Mountain View site and the Intel - Mountain View site. All three sites are located in the Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman (MEW) Study Area. People need to understand the underground water is where the chemicals lie and the vapors come up from underground. The tidal marshes and slough along the shoreline holds the water in keeping it from going away from the Ames campus.


The EPA actually raised the acceptable levels of TCEs a few years back otherwise you would see many more buildings on the list here. I personally think TCEs are responsible for my serious illness and the early deaths of other people I know who worked at Ames. The research enter does a good job of keeping its employees abreast of measurements of these chemicals. The ultimate responsibility should be with the EPA and the companies who dumped these toxins into the environment. NASA Ames itself has been commendable in their efforts to test and mitigate the vapors. This is coming from someone who feels greatly harmed from these chemicals. I do think there should be lawsuits. The TCE environmental lawsuit against IBM, where Endicott Massachusetts residents settled in 2015 after almost 8 years of litigation. I did not feel well enough to undertake this kind of drawn out and stressful lawsuit. Attorneys wanted me to be on television etc. Raytheon employees and the company itself have had astounding profits over the last 15 years. Just look it up. I would not feel bad suing them at all. I don't think NASA should be sued period. This article should have explained this background information much better.