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Mystery Odor Causes Medical Clinic to Temporarily Shut their Doors

EMSL Analytical provides odor identification services to help identify and resolve mystery odor complaints.


Last month, Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate reported that a mystery odor caused a medical clinic to close their doors for several weeks.  The article reported that strong odors caused employees to become ill and complain of nausea, burning eyes, rashes and sore throats.

The May incident was not the first at the clinic.  Employee complaints began in March, but odors were noticed last fall.  The state Department of Environmental Protection was called in to investigate and perform tests that came up with no culprits.

It is unclear if the odors are coming from within the property or are the result of another source.  The article questions whether a nearby zinc smelting operation could be the cause or if it could be related to natural gas drilling that is going on in the area.   

Mystery odors occur on a regular basis and can be caused by a wide range of reasons that can occur both within a building or infiltrate a structure from an outside source. 

One of the nation’s foremost testing laboratories for analyzing mystery odor samples is EMSL Analytical, Inc.  The company has access to the latest field sampling equipment, laboratory testing equipment and world renowned scientists. 

“Mystery odor complaints occur on a daily basis across the country,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical.  “Sometimes they are the result of harmless vapors and other times there can be real health concerns from hazardous gases.  Air sampling during an occurrence can identify the chemical makeup of the air and help pinpoint its source,” he continued.

EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about mystery odors that can be seen at:

To learn more about air testing for mystery odors or other indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental concerns, please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 


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