CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has accepted UNC Hospitals' request for an assessment of McLendon Clinical Laboratories after several former and current employees reported they have been diagnosed with cancer sometime in the last 20 years, according to UNC Health.
NIOSH began a health hazard evaluation on Monday that can determine whether workers are exposed to hazardous materials and whether these exposures are responsible for health risks, illness or injury, or harmful conditions, according to the CDC.
According to an alert sent out on Jan. 18, two individuals shared with the health system that four current employees and possibly ten to twelve more former employees have had a cancer diagnosis sometime in the last 20 years.
UNC Health said more than 1,000 employees have worked at the lab over the last two decades, including students who have had clinical rotations but it's unknown at this time at what age the people who have cancer were diagnosed.
ABC11 has also reached out to NIOSH for more information about the number of cases and what type of cancer is involved.
McLendon Clinical Laboratories is on the first floor at UNC Medical Center where employees deal with blood samples and pathology tests.
UNC Health said the area in the hospital where the lab is located receives health and safety inspections frequently, in addition to environmental controls and protections that are already in place across all the health system's facilities.
The health system said there's a phone line and email for questions or to share concerns at 984-974-4870 or email email@example.com as the evaluation could take months to complete.
The CDC said based on their findings, NIOSH investigators will recommend ways to reduce hazards and prevent work-related illnesses and injuries and the evaluation is done at no direct cost to the employees, employee representatives or employers.