Pregnant Google employees concerned about TCE exposure


A local expert on TCE issues says he spoke to Google employees who were exposed to toxic vapors while pregnant. Both worked at 369 and 379 Whisman Road, the pair of Google buildings found with elevated levels of toxic vapors late last year.

"They wanted to know more about it and whether they were at risk," said Lenny Siegel, director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight in Mountain View. "From what I can tell, there were several and they knew each other."

Because the women hadn't been in the buildings during the first trimester of pregnancy, "it's unlikely there were impacts, but it wouldn't hurt to tell their pediatrician about it," Siegel said he told the women. As far as the women knew their babies were born healthy, Siegel said.

After a recent review of TCE studies done over the years, toxicologists from the Environmental Protection Agency said recently that there is "strong evidence" that a mother's exposure to TCE during the first trimester can cause malformations of the fetal heart as it undergoes critical stages of development over a period of three weeks.

Toxicologists employed by the polluters in Mountain View disagree and have pointed to studies that contradict that conclusion.

Siegel said that he spoke with two women directly, but another pregnant woman's situation came up as well. The women delivered their babies in October and January. Google began occupying the buildings in July.

According to indoor air sampling results from January, the building now has only trace amounts of TCE vapors, amounts well below the 5 micrograms per cubic meter limit local EPA officials have proposed for office buildings, based on exposure during a 50-hour work week. In December, levels were as high as 7.8 micrograms per cubic meter had been found in one building, and 6.4 in the other.

Siegel also looked to see if the women worked in the portions of the buildings where the highest indoor air concentrations were found -- high enough to cause birth defects from short term exposures.

"They were not necessarily in the area with the highest levels," Siegel said.

Siegel said the Mountain View site is the first in the country to apply indoor air vapor intrusion limits designed to protect against the effects of short-term exposures, particularly for pregnant women.

For more information, see EPA Region 9's MEW study area website.

Related stories:

Toxics put pregnant Googlers at risk, expert says

Toxic vapors found in Google offices

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3 people like this
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

And yet, second-hand cigarette smoke will kill both mother and child, in any trimester!

It's amazing! Industrial solvents are so much safer than cigarette smokers.

3 people like this
Posted by nasty smoke
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Ben you are so right, cigarette smoke kills so many people that just come in contact with it. It's worse than ziklon b, or whatever it is they used in WWII to kill mass people.

Yet 2 of the oldest woman who's age can be proved, smoked all there life, it's in the Guiness book of word records.

3 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

The entire MV supersite area is full of TCE, benzene, toulene, formaldehyde ...

If you really believe, that the former pollutants are taking responsibility and are cleaning up swiftly, you're so mistaken. Some of the former pollutants haven't even claimed responsibility! They even don't care, they occasionally show up in public hearing, because they wouldn't look good otherwise so they come to the hearing meetings and do emailing.

EPA doesn't have the resources to clean up. It doesn't have even own measurement data! It completely relies on the former polluting companies to take proper measurement. the definition of proper is upto the individuels.

CDC measured 3 times more non hodgin lymphoma occurence in that area than normal distribution. However, it didn't consider, that people move, especially in Bay Area. So the real numbers don't probably lie by 35 occurence, it probably lies lies around 60, who knows?

What about people who work there? Kids, who go there to school?

3 people like this
Posted by juniperk
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm

What about the men? isn't it possible that some men are impacted by this? And their physical interaction with their girl friends/wives and they conceived and there is a possibility that those babies could be born with deformities? only time will tell.

3 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Get a life....

Jeeze.. in these days of P.C. and horrible enviromental places... why don't these ladie (and men) just stay home, or move to Montana and get a farm away from the threats of life...

Why make a big deal at this poinT ?? let's wait and see if their babies are born with three legs, etc....

3 people like this
Posted by CentralParkResident
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm

I've been a resident at Central Park at Whisman Station (100 N Whisman Rd) for 8 years. Is this location also part of the area that has industrial pollution? What exactly is the MV supersite area? Where can I find more information on this subject? Pls advise.

3 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

CentralParkResident, the EPA has maps of the superfund sites, with links to more info on each one.

Web Link

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