BY KAYLA BAWROSKI, email@example.com
5:32 PM EDT, June 28, 2012
Minute amounts of a World War I blister agent were found at an Aberdeen Proving Ground demolition site after a pipe was broken Tuesday.
Officials initially said nothing was found after testing, but Public Affairs Officer Robert DiMichele said Thursday afternoon that additional lab results found trace amounts of lewisite IN the pipes. The chemical agent, when in use, causes blisters when touched and in lungs when inhaled, according to DiMichele.
Aberdeen Proving Ground emergency services personnel said there are no hazards as a result of the chemical.
"We're talking about minute, minute amounts here," DiMichele said.
Contractors had been working on removing a foundation of a demolished building.
During excavation Tuesday, a pipe was broken in the southern, Edgewood area of the post and an employee reported a strange odor from the area, Adriane Foss, of Aberdeen Proving Ground, said Wednesday.
Aberdeen Proving Ground emergency medical services personnel and the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center conducted evaluations of the area and had initially concluded no toxic chemicals were released, Foss said.
"Our emergency medical services personnel will ensure that no hazards will adversely affect our on or off post communities," she added.
Subsequent tests, however, indicated the presence of the agent and construction has stopped at the 200-yard site, which is being covered up, DiMichele added. Once it is protected and the potential hazard can't continue, DiMichele said they will do more analysis about the next steps in terms of demolition.
The employee who detected the odor reported to the health clinic for an evaluation early Wednesday and was found to not have any exposure, according to Foss.