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UPDATE: New Theory On Toxic Chemical In Local Schools

One school district is waiting for the results of a new test into toxic chemicals at a local high school.

News Channel 3 first told you about the mysterious leak of the chemical Carbon Tetrachloride at La Quinta High and Valley View Elementary on Monday.

While scientists say there’s no immediate danger to students, teachers or staff, News Channel 3 uncovered there’s a new theory into what may be causing this airborne toxin.

Desert Sands Unified brought in a second testing firm to pinpoint what is causing the chemical presence at the high school. Their results are expected just before the new year.

Assistant Superintendent Cindy McDaniel said, “The district is concerned because we had a school site listed so it was important that we look into that and we’re going to have an engineer go out and do their own testing.”

Carbon Tetrachloride looks harmless when it’s formula is written out. But as University of California Riverside toxicologist David Eastmond puts away chemicals in the lab, he explains that what’s in this bottle can be very harmful in high concentrations, “They tend to be toxicity damage to the liver, toxicity damage to the kidney.”

While the first testing at both schools show chemical levels are not high enough to be harmful at this point, there is a rush to find out what’s causing it.

A new study says bleach used during floor mopping is mixing with soap to create Carbon Tetrachloride.

“There’s a recent study that suggests it is found when bleach is used in the presence of soaps and detergents, so there will be a release of low levels of carbon tetrachloride as part of the cleaning process,” explained Dr. Eastmond.

While toxic chemicals levels are currently below danger levels at both schools, the question remains unanswered: Is it something from outside the school? Or, with a little bit of bleach and soap, is it coming from something as simple as mopping the floor?

KESQ News Team


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