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Unusual problems

Radioactive apartments?

Apartments constructed in Taiwan between 1982 and 1984 have been the targets of a hunt for radioactive buildings. Between 1% and 2% of the apartments checked were radioactive. The radioactivity appeared to come from imported scrap metal from the west that was converted to construction steel. The source of the steel has not yet been determined. The radioactivity comes from Cobalt 60 which Taiwan do not produce. The radioactivity was first discovered when steel bars were taken in to a nuclear power plant, and the alarm at the gate was triggered. The Taiwanese Atomic Energy Council (AEC) is investigating all buildings build between 1982 and 1984. The task is difficult since some of the suspect construction steel has been stolen and must be tracked down. The government will purchase apartments with to high radiation levels and turn them into storage facilities.

Toxic carpets?

The U.S. EPA has begun carpet toxicity tests in their laboratory in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The tests are done in an attempt to duplicate tests done by Anderson Laboratories, Dedham, MA. The tests done at Anderson Laboratories resulted in mice dying when exposed to carpet samples. The Carpet and Rug Institute replicated these tests and found similar results. The EPA study will study the exposure history of fifteen people who say they suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Their medical history, allergy and immunological conditions, hormone functions, lung functions, and psychiatric and psychological evaluations will be part of the study.

Unhealthful floor?

A different report came out a few years ago from Scandinavia. In a new apartment building where a new cement floor was floated, vinyl flooring were placed over the new sub floor, and a mysterious vapor seem to appear and made people sick. The vapor could not be detected with normal means. There was no smell, and the vapor was invisible. People got sick and the only source that could be detected was the flooring materials. It was determined that the different chemicals in the vinyl glue and the floated cement material reacted and formed an invisible vapor. It was left unclear how unhealthful the vapor was. All apartments had to have the cement floor removed and a new type of floor installed.


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