County administrators and elected officials have often said that the Youth Services Center facility at 12th & Alder was falling apart and needed to be replaced. Now you can add toxic chemical contamination to the list of problems with the forty year old building.
KIRO 7 is reporting that Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in the upper floors of the building, potentially forcing county prosecutors to be relocated. According to Wikipedia, PCBs were used as plasticisers and stabilizing agents in a variety of construction materials.
An email sent out to employees Wednesday night by King County’s facilities management department informed staff who work in third, fourth and fifth floors of the YSC’s Alder Tower that recent testing at the more than 40-year-old facility, located at 12 Ave and East Alder St in Seattle’s Central District, uncovered PolyCholrinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in exterior windows, carpeting and soil samples…
The county says the PCB levels found so far are “very low”, but employees have been instructed not to touch window caulk, and to wash their hands after opening or closing windows.
PCBs were not detected in the lower levels of the YSC or adjacent juvenile detention facility.
The November election will include a sales tax measure to fund a replacement for the courthouse building and offices at the YSC facility.
Update: Our original headline on this story was inaccurate. Prosecutors have not been relocated yet, but a temporary relocation may be made soon to facilitate cleanup. Here’s the relevant quote from an email sent to county staff:
We are actively working with our tenants to ensure a rapid remediation plan, which may include temporary relocation during the time we are doing remediation work.
In the interim, here are some additional practices you can consider following in your workplace: Do not touch the exterior caulk around the windows. If you open or close windows wash your hands afterward to avoid ingesting dust from the caulk.