Last month, KAJ18 in Kalispell, Montana reported that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was again testing buildings near a rail yard in Whitefish. The buildings are located near the rail yard that was used by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to fuel their trains.
Included in the testing were the Whitefish Library and the O’Shaughnessy Center. The DEQ hired subcontractors to conduct the vapor intrusion tests to see if any chemical contaminants from the ground and groundwater were making their way into the air people breathe in the buildings.
Vapor intrusion testing is commonly conducted in buildings that are above, or near, areas where fuels and chemicals have been spilled, incorrectly stored or dumped in the past. If toxic chemicals seep into the ground they can become a hazard for people living and working in the area.
Vapor intrusion occurs when volatile chemicals move from the subsurface into the air or into overlying structures. Volatile chemicals may include volatile organic compounds, select semivolatile organic compounds, and some inorganic analytes, such as elemental mercury, radon and hydrogen sulfide.
“Typically in properties suffering from vapor intrusion issues the problem is due to low concentrations of chemicals,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, a leading vapor intrusion testing laboratory. “However, in extreme cases the vapors may accumulate to such a degree as to pose risks associated with explosions and acute health problems. Even in cases with low concentrations, many chemicals can cause a number of short and long term health risks, including cancers. At times vapor intrusion investigations may be complicated by the presence of some of the same chemicals from emission sources already in the building. At EMSL Analytical, our expert staff of scientists can provide the necessary sampling tools and cutting edge analysis to rapidly and efficiently help during vapor intrusion investigations.”
EMSL Analytical has sponsored an online educational video about the dangers associated with vapor intrusion. It can be seen at:
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.