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CMS opens Health Hazard Evaluation for possible cancer cluster at Smith Family Center in Charlotte

This move is coming after officials say some CMS employees had raised concerns that the Smith Family Center (“Smith”) building had produced a cancer cluster among people who worked there.
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is opening a Health Hazard Evaluation to determine if there is an occupational cancer cluster at Smith Family Center.

The CMS Board of Education opened the evaluation with the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH).

This move is coming after officials say some CMS employees had raised concerns that the Smith Family Center (“Smith”) building had produced a cancer cluster among people who worked there.

CMS officials say they are taking these concerns seriously and “recognize how upsetting they are to our employees who worked at Smith.”

When the matter was first brought to executive attention, CMS officials say Superintendent Earnest Winston moved employees out of the site.

CMS officials say they then began to explore how best to assess the building’s safety and to investigate if employee health has been compromised by it.

“To date, here are the steps we have taken: researched the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) guidelines1 for investigating cancer-cluster concerns; met with experts in the field; met with employees of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; and last week, met with the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH),” CMS said in a statement.

Although Smith has been declared surplus property, officials say it will not be demolished until we have completed any and all tests recommended by NIOSH.

“These are serious and frightening issues for our employees, and we share their concerns,” CMS said in a statement.

Officials say once CMS receives the results from the NIOSH evaluation, they will be shared with the employees and the public in compliance with the North Carolina Public Records Act.

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