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​​Poe Hall at NC State University was built in 1971 and serves as the primary classroom for the Psychology and Education departments. While renovating a section of the hall, environmental testing was done, and the presence of harmful chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was found.

The hall has recently been closed as of November 22, 2023, and could remain closed through 2024. Weeks before alerting students and faculty of the shutdown, NC State began collecting cancer data via an email to faculty. A Poe Hall toxic chemicals lawyer can investigate the events leading up to closure to determine if negligence played a part in this case.

As a community-centered law firm, we understand the impact a toxic exposure case of this magnitude has on individuals and the community. Whitley Law Firm wants to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by environmental harm.

Our lawyers are investigating the incident. If you or a loved one went to Poe Hall, call our premises liability lawyers in Raleigh to schedule a legal consultation.

Compassionate Legal Support for Victims of Toxic Exposure

In ongoing cases, such as the Poe Hall toxic chemical exposure, it isn’t easy to know what will come next. Being diagnosed with cancer can change your life and the lives of your loved ones. As a victim, you may be unsure of what your options are or where to turn for help. Our Raleigh personal injury lawyers will answer your concerns and review your legal options.

We prioritize building strong, trusting relationships with our clients, taking the time to listen to your concerns and understand the unique challenges you face. Our approach is rooted in a deep sense of empathy, recognizing that behind every case is a human story that deserves care.

What Are Polychlorinated Biphenyls?

Polychlorinated biphenyls 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.

NC Newsline obtained sampling results under the Public Records law, revealing that five rooms in Poe Hall are contaminated with PCBs at levels up to 38 times higher than the EPA standards established for building materials.

PCBs have been identified in various building materials within Poe Hall, including several air-handling units. Reports from individuals working in the building revealed instances of black liquid dripping onto their desks, prompting concerns about potential exposure to these hazardous substances.

Despite an employee filing a complaint with the state Department of Labor as early as September, the university took action to close the building only on November 17. This delay in response has raised questions about the adequacy of the initial measures taken to address the reported issues.

Types of PCBs Detected at Poe Hall

The main type of PCB found in Poe Hall was Aroclor 1262, which is commonly used in sealants. Monsanto made this type of PCB mixture found in some of the tested materials. In fact, the company was the main source of PCBs used in the United States industry. This would not be the first cancer case in which Monsanto would be involved.

Here is a list of the rooms in which Aroclor 1262 was detected:

  • Room 520E
  • Room 417
  • Room 310-P
  • Fifth-floor women’s bathroom
  • Room 100 (a second type of PCB was detected, Aroclor 1254)
  • Room 730 (Aroclor 1254 was also detected)
  • Room 732C

The second type of PCB detected, Aroclor 1254, is more toxic than Aroclor 1262. In fact, due to its high concentrations of dioxin-like congeners, this is the most dangerous commercial PCB mixture produced.

Health Risks Associated With PCB Exposure

Polychlorinated biphenyls can be absorbed through various mediums, such as the skin, water, air, and food. Skin absorption occurs when individuals come into direct contact with contaminated surfaces or substances containing PCBs.

Regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have established maximum contaminant limits to safeguard water and food quality. In occupational settings, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) governs PCB exposure, with a primary focus on airborne concentrations in the workplace.

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

There are currently over 100 reported cases of cancer in people who worked in Poe Hall. Breast cancer is among the most common diagnoses for these types of cases. Affected individuals were also diagnosed with skin cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and other conditions.

Several individuals were diagnosed with more than one type of cancer, and others received a cancer diagnosis on multiple occasions. The majority of individuals diagnosed at Poe Hall are women (77% of cases).

Approximately two-thirds of those affected were graduate students, faculty, or staff, while 16 people are currently employed or pursuing education at NC State. The youngest person diagnosed was 19 at the time of diagnosis.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Cases Fall Under Premises Liability

Toxic chemical exposure cases often fall under the premises liability, a legal doctrine that holds property owners or occupiers responsible for maintaining safe conditions on their premises. Warning signs matter in premises liability cases.

Victims could seek recourse when they are exposed to harmful substances due to:

  • Negligent management
  • Inadequate safety measures
  • Failure to conduct proper inspections and assessments
  • Failure to follow industry-specific safety regulations
  • Ignoring or downplaying reported incidents of toxic exposure
  • Improper handling of toxic materials on a property

These are only a few reasons that could form the basis of a valid premises liability case. There is reason to believe that negligence also played a role in the Poe Hall toxic exposure incident. The Toxic Chemicals attorneys in Poe Hall at Whitley Law Firm will investigate the circumstances of your case and help you seek justice.

Why Work With a Toxic Chemicals Lawyer?

If you worked or studied at Poe Hall, you may have been exposed to harmful chemicals that caused serious health problems. An experienced attorney can review your situation and advise on how to pursue justice. They will also analyze your options to file a lawsuit or join a class action.

A Poe Hall toxic chemicals attorney from our team will:

  • Investigate the incident: We will lead a comprehensive inspection of Poe Hall to identify potential sources of contamination, assess the extent of exposure, and gather data on the conditions leading to the incident.
  • Identify responsible parties: Your attorney will analyze maintenance records, inspection reports, and documentation related to toxic exposure in Poe Hall. They may also examine contracts and agreements between different parties involved in the maintenance and management of Poe Hall.
  • Navigate complex regulations and compliance issues: The attorney will assess whether the incident involved violations of environmental regulations, building codes, or other applicable laws. This includes reviewing records of inspections and compliance history.
  • Gather evidence of chemical exposure: The attorney will initiate a comprehensive review of available documentation, including any reports, records, or communication related to the presence of toxic chemicals within Poe Hall.
  • Establish causation between exposure and health effects: The attorney will analyze medical records and seek expert opinions from medical professionals to determine the specific health consequences resulting from the exposure. They will also consider the timing of the exposure in relation to the onset of health problems.
  • Engage expert witnesses and scientific evidence: Recognizing the complex nature of toxic exposure cases, the attorney will collaborate with environmental scientists, toxicologists, and other experts who specialize in the identification and assessment of hazardous substances.
  • Document damages and seek compensation: This involves a thorough examination of the physical, emotional, and financial toll on the victims. The attorney will assess medical records and consult healthcare professionals to quantify ongoing and future medical needs due to the exposure.

Call Our Poe Hall Toxic Exposure Lawyers Today

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. Our attorneys are closely investigating cases associated with the presence of toxic chemicals at Poe Hall.

We encourage anyone with questions about Poe Hall, cancer, and PCBs to contact us for a free case evaluation. We will explain your legal options and protect your rights.