The "sick building syndrome" label persists for a U.S. Health Care Financing Administration building, despite a half-dozen health studies that were unable to find a causal link for workers' medical problems, officials say.
About two dozen of the HCFA employees of the four-story Meadows East Building in Woodlawn have reported serious medical problems, including fungus balls and growths inside their heads, respiratory and eye infections, skin rashes, swelling and cancer."This has been going on for five years, and it hasn't stopped," said James Bruggy, an HCFA program analyst who has chronicled the puzzling medical cases that many of the victims blame on the building.
Another health investigator has completed a study that found no specific cause for the serious medical problems reported among two dozen HCFA workers at the building.
Industrial hygienist Oneil Banks of Bel Air said there were indications of previous fungus contamination that could have caused some of the illnesses.
But he said there was no chemical or biological contaminant present when he tested over the past five months and that no further testing for fungus was necessary.
Bruggy, who is union shop steward for Local 1923, American Federation of Government Employees in the Meadows East Building, said, "I don't know if they'll ever find the cause but something is there."
HCFA has transferred at least 27 employees with documented medical complaints to other buildings since 1986, the union says.
Others have retired after medical treatment or found jobs in other HCFA buildings. Nearly 50 employees have reported significant health problems that may be linked to their workplace.