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Doctors, parents worried about smell in school classrooms; District takes additional action

6 years 6 months 2 weeks ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 August 18, 2017 5:45 PM August 18, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

ST. AMANT – An “annoying” level of ammonia fumes are irritating some people around Ascension Parish campuses so the school district will remove insulation installed in temporary classroom buildings at various campuses.

WBRZ first reported on smells inside what's known as “T-buildings” two weeks ago. Then, school district officials likened the smells to the modular classrooms being closed during the hot, summer. Friday, though, parents complained that their kids were feeling ill or had reactions to the smell – including eye and skin irritations and headaches.

In a note to parents published on the district's website, Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent David Alexander said while there are no unsafe levels of chemicals in the air, the district was taking measures to eradicate lingering smells.

Experts pinpointed the smells to the insulation in the T-buildings.

At Lake Elementary, Alexander said, ammonia levels reached “zero” when insulation was removed late Thursday night. Other classrooms at Lake Elementary will have insulation removed over the weekend, Alexander said, and other campuses will be dealt with as needed.

Parents told WBRZ on Friday, they are frustrated.

“The smell whenever I walked into her class, it was so strong it gave me a headache right off the bat," mom Kathy LeBlanc said. LeBlanc took her child out of Lake Elementary classes Friday.

"I break out into...rashes and my head starts to hurt,” LeBlanc's daughter said. “Then every time I leave the school, it goes away, but when I come back in the morning, it breaks out,” she said.

The LeBlanc family physician wrote a letter, stating their concern with the possibility of chemicals in the building and suggested the child not return to the classroom.

The school said late Friday, it had moved some students to the library.


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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