Hanford workers report possible vapor odor in lab

Tri-City HeraldJune 24, 2014 

— Another Hanford worker was evaluated for possible exposure to chemical vapors Tuesday, this time after developing symptoms indoors at the 222-S Laboratory.

The Hanford laboratory analyzes waste samples, including from Hanford’s underground tanks holding waste associated with the chemical vapors.

The Washington River Protection Solutions employee has been cleared to return to work by onsite medical professionals.

Two employees entered an analytical room at the lab in central Hanford Tuesday and both reported an odor.

They left the room and shut the door. A notification was issued to restrict other workers from entering the room and samples were collected.

The second employee had no symptoms and did not request a medical evaluation.

No work was underway when the two workers entered the room. There also was no movement of waste samples or preparation to do any analysis of waste samples when the odors were reported, said Rob Roxburgh, spokesman for Washington River Protection Solutions.

Before Tuesday, 37 workers had received medical evaluations after smelling suspicious odors or developing symptoms while outdoors in or near the Hanford tank farms.

Symptoms may include shortness of breath, headaches, coughing and nose bleeds. Workers are concerned that chemical exposure may lead to serious health issues long term.

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