MARION COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Investigators released their report on what attorneys call “concerning levels” of PCBs inside an Indianapolis warehouse. The warehouse, located near 30th Street and Franklin Road, was evacuated on August 20.
More than 600 workers once filled that Exel warehouse where returns were processed for Walmart stores. Some of those workers have since filed a class-action lawsuit. Their attorney says the report released this week confirms what they’ve been so worried about since August.
“We knew that the moment the warehouse was shut down, that it wasn’t shut down because of trace amounts of PCB in a corner somewhere,” Attorney Gabriel Hawkins said. “People have a host of medical problems. Right now, the issue that we’re trying to determine is what those medical problems were caused by.”
Hawkins believes the culprit could be the PCBs identified in a newly released report.
“It’s a two-part volume. I would say it’s almost a half foot tall,” Hawkins said.
Hundreds of pages say caulk, insulation and even battery-changing stations were putting out PCBs.
“They persist in the environment. They don’t break down and go away very quickly. It takes years for these to break down,” Indiana Poison Center Medical Toxicology Fellow Dr. Jerry Snow said.
He says PCBs are a group of synthetic-organic chemicals that most commonly cause skin issues, like severe acne.
“You can see some other mild health effects, such as gastrointestinal effects, nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Snow said.
But the report released by Apex Investigative Services does not answer all of the questions Hawkins has for Exel.
“It’s the party that was responsible for the blood tests and is currently the party that is not sharing the protocol that was used in those blood tests with us,” Hawkins said.
He says a convention blood test will not accurately reflect PCB levels.
“Hopefully, the right tests were used. Hopefully, everyone is all right, but we’re going to find out the answer to that question,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins says the report released Thursday was ordered by Walmart. 24-Hour News 8 reached out to the company for comment on the findings, but did not receive a response.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is also conducting an investigation into the warehouse.