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Toxins and Schools in the news

posted Oct 27, 2009, 3:29 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Nov 10, 2009, 9:23 PM by Thomas Swan ]

Toxic chemical leak causes minor scare for neighborhood

Posted: October 27, 2009

A toxic chemical leak Monday forced residents in a seven-bock area on the [Indianapolis] Westside to stay inside and put three schools on lockdown. 

Vertellus Specialties, 1500 S. Tibbs Ave., accidentally discharged the chemical 2-vinylpyridine about 1:30 p.m., said Wayne Township Fire Capt. Justin Sparks.

The chemical is poisonous at high concentrations and can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches and unconsciousness if it is ingested or comes in contact with the skin. The leak was not enough to be hazardous, but it did leave an odor, Sparks said.

This story, and hundreds each year like it, give good reason for our schools to have toxic exposure drills. Some chemicals are heavier that air and other lighters, so the rule to avoid smoke inhalation - to get to down below smoke level, does not stand with toxic chemical emergencies.   School personnel need to know the appropriate safety measures to protect children and themselves. 

Children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults.  Chemical injuries are difficult if not almost impossible to prove using our current court procedures.  The injured are often victimized by the legal process which sometimes can take decade to resolve.

It is important to keep children from being exposed to toxic chemicals and pollutants.