Berwick Junior High air tested
BERWICK, La. — Berwick Junior High School passed an inspection by the state health department and is awaiting results from a second air quality test after a complaint was lodged concerning the air quality at the school.
The complaint originally alleged the school had mold growth that was making students and employees ill.
A report dated at the end of September by Acadiana Home Inspectors found mold growth between 3 and 4 nanograms per liter. The report indicates “levels below 8 ng/L are typical for most homes and should not cause great concern for healthy individuals.”
Areas where samples were taken include the first floor hallway, second floor hallway, library and back hallway.
The chemical found in moth crystals, p-Dichlorobenzene, was found in “severe” or “elevated” levels throughout the school.
When the school had a bat infestation problem three years ago, moth balls, which contain a different chemical — naphthalene — were used to drive the mammals out before their access to the school was sealed, Office of Public Health Sanitarian Michael Bourgeois said.
His inspection of the school, dated Jan. 14, found no bats, guano or moth balls. Areas inspected included several classrooms and hallways. Ceiling tiles were removed and the air spaces were inspected as well.
Bourgeois said that deodorizing “pucks” sometimes used in bathrooms also contain the chemical found in moth crystals.
Other results from the first air quality test indicate “moderate” or “elevated” amounts of fumes or Volatile Organic Compounds resulting from paints, varnishes and coatings were found.
Other compounds found in “elevated” or “severe” quantities throughout the school were personal care products such as deodorant, lotions, perfumes, etc., and alcohol products which can be found in cleaning products, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.
Superintendent Donald Aguillard said the school was opened over the Christmas holidays to allow additional airing.
“The Sept. 29 air quality report did show elevated levels of moth crystals. Moth crystals (dichlorobenzene) are typically found in bathrooms and used as a deodorizer. We are immediately removing all moth crystals from bathrooms and custodial areas at BJHS. The air quality test planned for tomorrow will help identify the source of the elevated levels of moth crystals,” Aguillard said in an email this morning.
Bourgeois noted the school system also has a positive air flow air conditioning system which brings in outside air and either heats or cools it before blowing it into the school, ensuring that there is a constant flow of fresh air in the building.
A second air quality test is scheduled to be conducted Thursday.