ShareThis Page
Health

Reported hair loss prompts tests

| Friday, Jan. 7, 2005

Mercy Hospital is testing air quality at its laboratory in the Forbes-Stevenson Building after 10 employees suffered mysterious hair loss earlier this week.

No one was hospitalized and all of the Uptown lab's 75 employees remained on the job Thursday despite the health scare, Mercy spokeswoman Linda Ross said.

"I would say (the employees) are complaining about varying degrees of hair loss," Ross said. "I can't quantify it, though, because I haven't spoken with them."

Mercy hired an independent hygiene contractor and engineering firm to assess the lab's air quality and make sure its ventilation system is working properly, Ross said.

"We are fast-tracking everything," Ross said. "But I can't say when we'll have an answer. Some tests take longer than others."

The Mercy lab's ventilation is separate from the air flow system for the rest of the Forbes-Stevenson Building, which is a block away from the Uptown hospital. The lab is one of four facilities used by Mercy to process patient specimens such as blood and phlegm for patient diagnosis and treatment, Ross said.

Routine safety monitoring, conducted twice a year throughout the hospital, previously has shown the lab to have no problems, she said.

Calls to the lab yesterday were referred to Mercy's corporate communications office. A reporter was denied entrance to the Forbes-Stevenson Building, although a security guard at the front desk said a warning sign was posted yesterday outside the lab notifying employees about the situation.

Mercy leases space in the building, which Allegheny County records say is owned by Forbes Stevenson Corp.

As of late yesterday, the Allegheny County Health Department had not been notified about the potential ventilation problem, department spokesman Guillermo Cole said. In addition, no complaints were filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to a government Web site.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me