Cancer, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina State Alumni Reveal Reports Of Cancer Diagnosis Possibly Linked To Campus Building

This can't be good.....

A total of 152 cancer cases in people who attended North Carolina State University have been reported, sparking an internal investigation. 

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based university is investigating student and alumni exposure to staggering levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a probable carcinogen, in a popular campus building that held classes. Shut down since November 2023, Poe Hall is said to have PCB levels more than 38 times above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) building material standards. 

The detection was found in at least five rooms inside the building.

As students started to have symptoms, things spiraled. Education and psychology student Christie Lewis said she had severe night sweats and couldn’t figure out why. “I was finishing up my finals, and I was going in for a physical at the health center. … I was having night sweats for weeks and weeks before this, and I could not figure out what was happening,” Lewis said.  

“I was having to get up in the middle of night, and change clothes completely. And then I would fall asleep. And I had to put a towel down. It took me weeks to tell my husband about them because I kept forgetting about it because it was just in the middle of the night.”

According to the EPA, PCBs are “probable human carcinogens” prone to negatively affect someone’s neurological, reproductive, immune and endocrine systems.

Attending the home of the Wolfpack between 2007 and 2012, Lewis was diagnosed with thyroid cancer while staying in school between 2011 and 2012. She later found a lump on her neck, resulting in medical professionals diagnosing it as a angiosarcoma – a cancerous tumor found in the inner walls of blood vessels and lymph vessels, which mainly support the immune system.

A free federal investigation conducted by The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), according to WRAL, was able to conduct medical exams, review illness reports, and collect samples. However, in January 2024, the investigation was abruptly called off, raising questions about why. 

Several days after Poe was closed, the NC Department of Health and Human Services recommended the school request a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE). The CDC confirmed two separate HHE requests for Poe Hall. However, NIOSH failed to conduct either without the school’s involvement.

In a letter from NIOSH official Dr. Dallas Shi, she wrote, “I explained that the North Carolina State University’s Office of General Counsel has asked us to stop our evaluation.”

She further touched on some frustration felt by NCSU employees who participated in the second evaluation request. “The requestor expressed concerns over a lack of communication and general distrust in management’s actions,” Shi continued. 

“They also expressed concern about a lack of epidemiological analysis. I offered to relay these concerns to the North Carolina State University’s Office of General Counsel in a confidential manner.” 

The school took some offense to those accusations, as Chancellor Randy Woodson released a statement that NCSU did not choose to pull out of the evaluation. “At no time has NC State requested that NIOSH close any HHE (Health Hazard Evaluation), and I’m reaching out to respectfully request a retraction of any statement to the contrary,” Roessler wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Poe Hall was initially built in 1971, a period when PCBs were commonly found in construction materials. The medical cases have not been officially linked to the building; however, Woodson reaffirmed that an environmental investigation will be conducted to provide answers on health concerns.