West Classroom Test Results


Posted Wed, Aug 28, 2019

The West Classroom building has a clean bill of health from two independent environmental companies. [Courtesy Photo]

DENVER – MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, and other school officials help put students, faculty and staff members minds at ease on Aug. 12, by providing West Classroom’s clean test results from two independent environmental companies.

After discovering that four employees who worked in the West Classroom were diagnosed with three different types of cancer, the Auraria campus authorities took action. The environmental professional were hired to come in and test for a possible connection between the building environment and the health diagnosis. And with results just in, campus officials decided to hold a meeting in the King Center and share what was found from investigation.

President Davidson started off the meeting with her stance on the issue. “I want you to know that there is nothing more important to me and the leaders on my team, than the health and wellbeing of our Roadrunner and our partners in Auraria.”

After making her opening statements, the president reported that the building in question came back clean from a variety of assessments. The mic was then turned over to the CEO of AHEC, Colleen Walker, who confirmed the good news. Walker gave a quick overview of the 11 types of tests done, including Ionizing Radiation, Aldehyde, mold, dust, Carbon Dioxide, and visual assessments. She also addressed the concern with the drinking water being a connection.

“Our drinking water is supplied by Denver Water and they conduct over 70,000 water tests every year,” Walker said. “So, we are part of that system. All of our drinking water fountains have been tested for lead and we have no evidence of lead in our pipes as well.”

MSU Denver President Janine Davidson says nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of the Roadrunners and the university’s partners in Auraria. [Courtesy Photo]

Dr. Jonathan Samet, an expert in epidemiology, brought his knowledge to light as he explained the difference between these three cancer cases.

“One of the individuals had lung cancer, another liver cancer, and two had breast cancer,” Samet said. “So, these are very distinct types of cancer, each with their own set of causes.”

Samet explained that the only singular cause to these different cancers would be ionizing radiation. However, this idea is debunked by the tests for ionizing radiation coming back clear.

“It takes quite a while and it takes a great deal of radiation,” Samet said. “And a level of radiation that would simply not be encountered in a general office environment unless there are some extraordinary circumstances.”

President Davidson also allowed questions from the audience after each expert gave their interpretation of the test results. With one of the questions being why should the results of this testing be trusted?

Larry Sampler, chief operating officer at MSU replied, “None of us want to see anybody get sick. I’m really gratified that the results came back clean. But had they not, we would have had the buildings evacuated in a moment’s notice.

“You should trust these results because two licensed industrial hygienists’ firms, have independently gone in and examined the buildings. We’re not going to put you in a building that we don’t think is safe.”

Davidson ended the meeting by encouraging everyone to get involved. “We need everybody on campus to help us identify where the big pain points are… We want to be able to identify those things. So, I encourage you to be a part of that.”


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