Over 150 Cancer Cases Linked to NC State Building

Federal health officials are looking into a possible link between an increased number of cancer cases among students and alumni from North Carolina State University in Raleigh and a campus building that was closed down last November when it tested positive for high levels of a possible carcinogen, Fox News reported.

Officials at NC State conducted preliminary testing of construction materials in Poe Hall after an employee expressed concerns to the university’s environmental health and safety unit about the building in August 2023.

WRAL in Raleigh reported in February that the testing found levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were 38 times higher than the EPA’s standards in the building material in five rooms in Poe Hall.

At the time, WRAL reported that over 100 current and former NC State students who had classes in the building were subsequently diagnosed with cancer.

After the building was closed in November 2023, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommended that the university request a Health Hazard Evaluation of the building from the National Institue for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson told USA Today that the school was not “formally collecting health data” since NIOSH’s Health Hazard Evaluation on the building was underway. The evaluation requires NC State to provide information on everyone who occupied Poe Hall.

Woodson acknowledged that people were eager to get answers but insisted that the university was moving “as quickly” and “thoroughly” as it could.

In the meantime, the school set up a website to document the ongoing investigation. Vice Chancellor Warwick Arden told USA Today that the website would continue to post updates as the investigation proceeds.

At a webinar in late March, university and public health officials answered questions about the ongoing investigation.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services epidemiologist Zach Moore said the agency had heard from several former students who were diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses.

Poe Hall was built in the early 1970s when building materials containing PCBs were commonly used in construction.