Math and Science Building makes students ill, raises health concerns

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By Amanda Arroway | News Editor

SMELLS LIKE TROUBLE: The Math and Science Building has been experiencing several issues for approximately eight months.

Cynthia Azari, president of Riverside City College, sent an email April 6 to the faculty mailing list alerting the faculty of the situation occurring at the Math and Science Building.
For approximately the last eight months, the building has been experiencing odors that faculty and staff describe as solvent or sulfur-like.

Faculty, staff and students have also reported feeling ill and having symptoms such as headaches, sore throat, itchy eyes and nausea.

President Azari said the college has hired two firms to find what is occurring in the building.

A forensic analytical company has been hired to collect air samples within the building. Azari said there are devices that have been placed around the building for the air quality testing.

The other firm is an engineering company that specializes in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It is conducting an inspection on the building’s ventilation system.

The air quality testing devices were placed in the classrooms April 23.

Azari said the college officers were informed of the devices in the afternoon but the word was not passed on to the evening police officers.

“The police were saying there was a faulty member who was in the class and didn’t recognize the equipment so (the faculty member) evacuated (his or her class) and called the police,” she said.

Since the incident, she said the college has placed fliers around the Math and Science building that advises the students of the devices and lists the classrooms and areas where the air quality equipment is at.

Azari said there were three air quality tests conducted and none showed there were any toxic levels.

”(The air quality tests) are below acceptable level so there is no danger,” she said.

“If the students are experiencing anything, they need to report that to the health center.”

Azari said she is expecting to get an early report on the testing in mid-May.

“We are trying to identify the problem and remedy the problem.”

“We have hired professionals to see what is really going on here,” she said.

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