- 3 years ago
- Wedding: September 2013
Hi Bees, so I’m nearing 20 weeks of pregnancy and was recently told that our entire team was moving to a new building about 15 minutes away. I work for a worldwide chemical distributor, they repackage and sell bulk chemicals. I’d heard rumors that the other building was not particularly safe, so the hubs and I found an EPA inspection report for the place. It said it had no violations in 3 years, but prior to that there were about 6 or 7 “significant violations” and one that actually resulted in a fine. I asked our district commercial manager about it and he told me that the entire block where the building was is under EPA remediation because of a few gasoline storage tanks that caught fire several years ago. I asked if there had been dumping of chemicals in the ground and his response was “it’s not an EPA superfund, so it’s safe”. The building is from the 1970s and they did used to drain out overflow of chemicals in the back of the building. The water that runs from the faucets and when you flush the toilet there is brown. I was told it’s because the plumbing is old, but that “the water is safe”.
I asked a friend of mine who deals with environmental lobby stuff and she said to request an OSHA certificate saying the air and ground has been inspected and it’s fine. I asked my boss for the certificate for the new building and for the current building we are in (because of the hydrochloric haze around the building and the smell of acetic acid when they’re repackaging it). My boss went to the regional district commercial manager and was told that both buildings are safe, that the EPA “significant violations” could “be anything”, and that they don’t have any air quality/ground quality inspection reports because there have been “no incidents”. They also sent over a manager to talk to me and tell me that she had two healthy kids at another facility and it was “fine, just don’t drink the water and try not to smell any ammonia or bleach”. The tank farm manager also said that the facility was safer than what I had under my kitchen sink. Ummmm…. I don’t drum off truckloads of sulfuric and nitric under my kitchen sink.
Bees, this all seems extremely suspicious, right? How does a huge chemical facility have no report from any regulatory body with their air quality and ground quality levels? It seems like they just don’t want to provide it. If I bring it up, they keep saying to just take their word for it, that it’s safe. All I want to see is some documentation that it’s okay to breathe and drink water at both places, i don’t want to take Joe Schmoes word for it. It all seems really bizarre and now me and my coworkers are suspicious. Any chemist bees or anyone with a chemical background want to chime in? What are the chances we are being exposed to some nasty chemicals? I also just want to make clear, we do not handle any of the chemicals, we do office work in the building adjacent to where the chemicals are repackaged, so we’re separated by a wall.
I like my job and the company otherwise has been very good to me, the benefits are good, paycheck is good, and my coworkers are great. I don’t want to have to quit but I just don’t know how wise it is to stay in light of this situation.