Many of the nation's pollution-fighters at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency have been gasping and wheezing from an air pollution problem apparently caused by new carpeting.

Sixty-five employees have sought medical attention, and seven can't enter the building at all because of their reactions when they do, William Hirzy, president-elect of Local 2050 of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said Wednesday.

Hirzy said he was "90 percent certain" the reactions came from exposure to phenylcyclohexene, a gas given off by the backing of new rugs the agency has been installing in the building used by 5,100 employees.