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Poe Hall at NC State University was built in 1971 and serves as the primary classrooms for the Psychology and Education departments. While renovating a section of the hall, environmental testing was done and found the presence of harmful chemicals known as PCBs. The hall has recently been closed as of November 22nd and is anticipated to remain closed through the spring semester.

Weeks before alerting students and faculty of the shutdown, NC State began collecting cancer data via an email to faculty.

What are Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)?

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of highly carcinogenic chemicals that were once widely used in various industrial applications due to their versatility and stability. Their production was banned in 1979 due to the known link to health problems, however, devices and structures built before then may still contain PCBs.

Health risks that arise from PCB exposure:

Long term exposure to PCBs is linked to a variety of adverse health effects. This can include:

  • Cancers
  • Weakened Immune Systems
  • Reproductive Issues
  • Neurological Effects
  • Endocrine Effects

Update from NC State

We recognize that because of this abrupt closure, there are many questions about how we arrived at this point and what it means for those who are directly impacted. In an effort to keep you informed, here are a few points you should know about the testing process and what we know so far:

  • In response to a concern raised in August about indoor air quality resulting from an ongoing renovation project, the university initiated an internal environmental assessment, which included preliminary testing for asbestos and heavy metals. All results were within acceptable limits. The internal assessment also included consultation with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We’ve continued to consult with NIOSH throughout this process.
  • In October and November, samples were collected from the surfaces of selected areas of the building. These samples were analyzed for asbestos, heavy metals including lead and mercury, and PCBs.
  • There are more than 200 different commercial mixtures of PCB compounds called “Aroclors.” Our preliminary surface tests primarily detected levels of Aroclor 1262 that warrant further investigation.
  • Given that additional testing is needed, and in an effort to help our Poe Hall community plan for the months ahead, the building will not be open for the start of the spring semester. The university is working diligently to relocate the building’s classes, research spaces, offices and services.

Contact Whitley Law Firm

If you spent time at Poe Hall at NC State and believe you may have been affected by the presence of PCBs, call Whitley Law Firm for a free consultation. The attorneys at Whitley Law Firm are closely investigating cases associated with the presence of toxic chemicals at Poe Hall.