San Diego State is now the second local university facing fears that a campus building may be causing fatal cases of cancer.

The Daily Aztec, the student newspaper, reports today that two professors who had offices in Nasatir Hall room 131 have died of brain cancer, one in 1993 and the other in 2008. A graduate student who apparently spent time in the room also died of brain cancer last year, and another professor who had an office next to the room is suffering from the disease.

San Diego State’s political science professors are raising questions:

Political science Associate Professor Farid Abdel-Nour said he thinks the main concern is finding out if there is a reason to be worried and if there is a high incidence of brain cancer, statistically.

“We don’t want to raise alarm, we are just asking questions,” Abdel-Nour said. …

These concerns come at a time when a $55 million state-funded project to completely renovate both Storm and Nasatir Halls was slated to begin in the fall.

It’s not clear whether the building is actually causing the cases, or what the potential cause might be. According to The Daily Aztec, Nasatir Hall is one of 43 buildings on campus that contain asbestos.

Nasatir Hall, reportedly named after a late San Diego State history professor, is on the west side of the campus near the West Commons.

Last month, UCSD students, staff and faculty protested the university’s response to a cluster of eight breast cancer cases in women who worked at the school’s Literature Building.

Two of the women have died. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

That incidence rate is four to five times higher than what would be expected in the state’s general population, according to a report the university commissioned and released in June.

The report, written by UCSD epidemiologist Dr. Cedric Garland, said there is “a possibility of a mild to modest increase in risk of breast cancer” associated with a small area of the first floor near electrical and elevator equipment rooms.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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