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Environmental lab faces $907,000 in carcinogen-related fines



The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Friday that it has cited Manchester, Connecticut-based Phoenix Environmental Laboratories Inc. for exposing employees to a carcinogen.

OSHA cited the lab for six willful violations, 10 serious violations and one non-serious violation and proposed a total of $907,253 in penalties. The company has 15 days to contest the referrals.

For months, employees at the lab complained to management about faulty ventilation systems and about symptoms — including dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches and unsteady gait — all of which can be caused by exposure to methylene chloride, a highly dangerous chemical and workplace carcinogen, according to an OSHA statement.

An investigation found that due to inadequate ventilation and repeated leaks from equipment in work areas, plus the use of methylene chloride in the analysis of environmental samples, employees sustained exposure to the chemical, in some cases above the permissible exposure limit, OSHA said.

“Despite knowledge of these employee complaints that addressed health risks,”

; management “took few effective steps to monitor and address the exposures and provide effective safeguards for its employees,” the agency said.


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