Tesla workers at a gigafactory in South Buffalo, NY, claim the plant is infested with bed bugs — and that management has sprayed the facility with toxic chemicals that are not only ineffective but also making them sick.
“You could tell there was a scent of chemicals in the air… There was various chairs that had a residue sprayed on the back of them,” one staffer told ABC 7 WKBW of the plant, where a bed bug infestation reportedly broke out on Oct. 9.
“It was white, it looked almost like a film on the backs of some people’s chairs and jackets, because there was no warning ahead of time.”
Employees told the outlet they were told by managers and co-workers that the sprayed chemical was Steri-Fab.
According to Steri-Fab’s website, once it’s sprayed onto a surface, it needs 15 minutes to dry before its safe to come into contact with. Before then, it’s harmful to inhale or touch and can cause skin and eye irritation.
Workers at the 1.2 million-square-foot factory — where employees produce Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Superchargers, and work on Tesla’s Autopilot software — expressed that they were feeling some of these side effects.
“Me and a few coworkers’ eyes started burning, they also got very puffy and I started to have some breathing issues,” one Tesla staffer told WKBW.
Another employee emailed the outlet saying: “Many other workers including myself had symptoms of dizziness as well as throat swelling, nausea and burning eyes.”
“The chance of being around potentially toxic chemicals doesn’t make me feel comfortable,” the staffer added, noting that employees have been using their paid time off or sick days to avoid going into the office.
After WKBW published photos of the bug-infested office space, where office chairs were dotted in a white residue, one X user who said she owns a pest control company doubted Tesla’s claim that it used Steri-Fab for the bed bug infestation.
“I can guarantee that the chemical that was sprayed was not Steri-fab,” the X user who goes by Liz tweeted. “Steri-fab is essentially rubbing alcohol. It would NEVER leave a white residue like the one in the picture.”
Liz also suggested that Tesla is “claiming it’s Steri-fab due to not following the law. For all other pesticides people have to be removed for 3 hrs, for Steri-fab it’s only 15 min since it’s rubbing alcohol and dries instantly. Any technician will tell u that pic is not Steri-fab residue.”
Other images from the Tesla Gigafactory 2 plant in South Buffalo show the insects — which are no bigger than an apple seed — wedged into the carpet, while videos from the office show one of the pests crawling across the floor.
Liz pointed out in her tweet that “generally, you only see one bed bug for every 100 that are hiding that u will never see. I would encourage staff to get their homes inspected on Teslas dime.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that they’ve received dozens of complaints from Tesla workers at this gigafactory, according to WKBW.
“We can confirm that OSHA is both aware of and investigating this situation,” the agency told The Post on Friday.
OSHA said that it’s investigating Tesla’s protocols for using chemicals in the office, though it doesn’t have any standards for bed bugs in the workplace.
Representatives for Tesla did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
According to the New York State Department of Health, bed bug infestations typically occur when the pests hitchhike into a space via used furniture, purses, backpacks or other soft or upholstered items.