"We believe the protocol that has been used for the environmental testing is really high quality and we welcome any specialist you would like to bring to sit down with the specialist (who has) been in the building and has done the test to review the protocol and the methods involved and I think you would be satisfied," Board of Education member Leslie Moriarty told parents at a meeting Thursday.HEADLINE:
Gina DeMartis' son had constant headaches and occasional nose bleeds. Mina Bibeault's daughter complained of frequent headaches and burning eyes, while her son often had a runny nose. Donna Ortoli's son also suffered from similar health ailments.
These three Hamilton Avenue School parents are among those worried that their children's health symptoms are linked to conditions at the modular school building. Officials shut down the school last month after officials found a significant mold infestation in the roof eaves and crawl space.
"My child has a cold now, is it related?" DeMartis asked. "Maybe the mold spores are on the books they got from the classroom? You don't know what to believe anymore."
With Hamilton Avenue School students dispersed to different schools across the town, parents are calling on the Board of Education to allow their own experts into the moldy modular buildings to perform their own tests and investigation....
"If the Board of Ed has nothing to hide, they should allow us in," Mina Bibeault said. "Board of Ed, if you feel 120-percent confident in your results, you should roll out the red carpet."
...Another indoor air quality specialist also not connected to the Hamilton Avenue School testing said there are no hard and fast rules.
"It's very hard to comment because there's no one size fits all answer," said Paula Schenck, assistant director of the Farmington-based Center for Indoor Environments and Health at the University of Connecticut. "You have to look at the individual situation."
She said while mold is easily cleaned from some furniture, particularly metal, it is more difficult to rid from paper and other organic materials. Schenck said that while some small amount of mold can be naturally occuring indoors, it should be kept to an absolutely minimum.
"It's complicated because what you don't want is mold growing on materials inside," Schenck said. "Mold is a very normal part of our ecology but you don't want it growing inside. It's not a healthy environment inside."
In addition to mold, parents also fear the presence of formaldehyde in the modulars. Schwartz said the chemical is present in ultra-low concentrations, but parents also dispute that finding and want their own tests. Formaldehyde causes cancer in lab animals and may cause cancer in humans, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"What irks me about the formaldehyde is it could be a good five years before my kids get diagnosed," Bibeault said.
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