Toxic vapors seeping up from underneath Google buildings

“One of Silicon Valley’s dirty secrets is coming back to haunt Google with toxic vapors,” CBS San Francisco reports.

“TCE, or trichloroethylene vapors were detected at the company’s offices in Mountain View,” CBS SF reports. “Google’s buildings QD6, and QD7, which sit on North Whisman road sit on top of what used to be Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Raytheon, and other computer chip makers.”

“The EPA’s screening level for commercial buildings is 5 micrograms per cubic meter. Most of Google’s air sample stations in the two buildings detected TCE levels below 5 micrograms per cubic meter. But about a dozen stations reported readings from 5 to 30 micrograms per cubic meter. One station reported 120 micrograms per cubic meter. Air samples are collected over 8 to 10 hour span,” CBS SF reports. “It takes decades of TCE exposure at elevated levels to cause medical problems, according to the EPA.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mole holes.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dave8112” for the heads up.]

38 Comments

    1. I don’t like Google the company, but I do not harbor ill will towards Google employees. A toxic work environment is not a laughing matter, and I am sure that Google will take the necessary steps to remedy the problem.

      This is a wakeup call to everyone who feels that capitalism at any cost is the best answer. This is a wakeup call to those who believe that the environment will take anything that humankind can dish out with no consequences. This is a wakeup call to those extremists who continue to rant that all regulation is evil. We have to take care of the environment, even if the short term cost of doing so is higher than the most profitable and expedient course. The long term cost of ignoring the adverse environmental impacts from human activities may be incredibly costly – perhaps even unaffordable.

      1. I”m a little surprised that they are just finding this now. I’ve had friends working in the are of groundwater testing in Silicon Valley. Anyone buying property there has been acutely aware of this problem for years. I’m sure the ground was drilled and tested extensively before the building went up. Perhaps some TCE bubbled up from deeper than expected or drifted in from a neighboring property.

        Roughly speaking, how this came about is that fifty, sixty years ago when the industry was starting there was much less awareness about the dumping of toxic chemicals. Some were deliberately dumped, others leaked by accident from rusty tanks or broken pipes. The companies responsible are often gone but we still have to deal with their legacy.

        1. Exactly so. In fact, across 101 where their main campus sits is where a lot of hogs and cows were quartered on their way to the slaughterhouse. There was also a tire dump on Charleston that caught fire in the early 80s, burned for days. When growing up our scout troop would do a fertilizer day at the church that sponsored us – dads with pickups and we scouts would get free manure at the dairy farm on Whisman. I’m surprised the methane hasn’t been a problem.

  1. Known effects from TCE exposure are lower sex drive and fertility (not to mention the more fatal ones)

    Wasn’t Brin talking about emasculation at TED? Think we found why he’s feeling insecure.

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