Odor a Concern for UHS

But Marino's `Bacon-y' Smell Is Not Health Risk

A "bacon-y" odor from the woodfired grill at the newly opened Caffe Marino in Holyoke Center, though not a health hazard, will affect normal operations at University Health Services, according to an internal UHS memo issued Thursday.

"This is a very big concern for the staff and all who use UHS," said a longtime employee of UHS. "The smoke smell is terrible."

In the memo, Oliver Professor of Hygiene David S. Rosenthal '59, the director of UHS, requested that the health services staff avoid using the basement entrance during the day and use the first-floor door instead.

The odor could be a problem for UHS, since "on windy days, the wind blows it into the doors of the emergency room," said Harvard Real Estate spokesperson Dianne M. Dyslin.

Jay Diguilo, spokesperson for Caffe Marino, said he was aware of the problem and that Harvard Real Estate was working on the air cleaning system.


Marino's system consists of an electrostatic precipitator to remove smoke, a water wash head to remove grease and an odor control unit to diminish the smells, Dyslin said.

When Marino opened last weekend, both smoke and odor were evident in and around Holyoke Center because of flaws with the pre- cipitator and odor control unit, said ZaurieZimmerman, a consultant with Harvard Real Estate.The problem with the precipitator has since beenfixed, according to Zimmerman.

"It is now considered to be working properly,"Zimmerman said.

However, the odor control unit, made by GaylordIndustries, continues to be a problem, she said.

"We've been working on the problem diligently,because we're not satisfied with its performance,"Zimmerman said. Harvard Real Estate has set aninternal target date of December 25 to solve theproblem, she said.

Zimmerman also said that the wood-fired stovewas almost certainly the source of the odor, sincethe exhaust smells of burning wood, not food.

According to Rosenthal's memo, UHS hascontacted Environmental Health and Safety (EHS),which said the odors did not pose a health hazard.The memo also said EHS was in the process ofcollecting air samples, though EHS officials couldnot confirm that yesterday.

A longtime UHS employee, speaking on conditionof anonymity, also said staff members wereconsidering calling the area office of the U.S.Department of Labor's Occupational Safety andHealth Administration. But the administration'sarea director, K. Frank Gravitt, said yesterdaythat no complaints have yet been filed with hisoffice.

The longtime employee also said that employeeswere concerned that a service elevator used for"trash removal and specimen transportation...and[to move] any one who has died in Stillman" isalso being used to carry food into Marino's.

Interviews with pathologists yesterday seemedto indicate that this was not a problem.

"I wouldn't think it was [a health hazard], aslong as [UHS] follows routine precautions," saidDr. Charles W. Andrews, a pathologist at N.E.Deaconess Hospital.

Diguilo, the spokesperson for Marino's, saidthat while he was not aware of the dual use of theelevator, the restaurant only uses the elevator tocarry canned or dry uncooked food. He saidMarino's had been given permission to use theelevator from UHS when they negotiated a leasewith Holyoke Center in September.

Furthermore, Diguilo said, Marino's is notpermitted to use the elevator between 11:30 a.m.and 1:30 p.m., since UHS delivers its own food atthat time