Google workers at Netscape Sacrifice Zone exposed to toxic levels of trichloroethylene.
For at least two months, Google employees were exposed to excessive levels of a hazardous chemical after workers disabled a critical part of the ventilation system at the company's new satellite campus on a Superfund toxic waste site. [...]
"We take several proactive measures to ensure the healthiest indoor air environment possible in our workplace," she said by e-mail.
"We are 100% committed to shipping the highest quality product possible on March 31st."
When Netscape occupied the Google site, a controversial "air stripper" operated there for more than a decade, emitting toxic chemicals into the air without monitoring, according to Lenny Siegel, executive director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, an activist group based in Mountain View. In 1999, Netscape was acquired by AOL, which declined to comment.
In an effort to reduce the vapors, workers sealed cracks in floors and walls where TCE might get in.
"From beneath you, it devours."
On Jan. 14, the team inspected the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (often referred to as HVAC) and found it had been switched to manual, which prevented the positive pressure system from running continuously.
The move was motivated by a desire to keep the buildings warm as the weather turned colder in the fall, the report shows.
"If you turn off the AC, you will get cancer and die."
TCE, an industrial solvent used in making computer chips, is known to cause cancer and birth defects. [...] Pregnant women who are exposed to low levels of the chemical during a crucial three-week period in their first trimester face an increased risk of having a baby born with holes in the heart, a 2011 EPA analysis found. [...]
The site is now home to about 85 businesses, including [...] a baby ultrasound center, an adoption service, a restaurant and a cafe.
In lighter news, Illinois man found with $200,000 in stolen Wisconsin cheese.