Parents express concerns with chemicals detected near Rochester Prep

Parents and students at Rochester charter school Rochester Prep declared themselves unsatisfied with the school’s handling of reports about toxic chemicals on the school site.

“I’m worried for my own health. I’m worried for my friends Health,” exclaimed student Alaysha Woodard.

Parents declared their intent to protest at the school following a meeting with administrators Monday night.

The between St Paul and Martin Streets that houses the school, as well as some school district offices, was once a Bausch and Lomb facility.   The New York Department of Environmental Conservation reported that underground storage tanks at the site leaked and contaminated the soil with chemicals including Trichlorethelyne (TCE), raising the prospect of TCE vapors in the building.

“There’s high levels of toxins in the hallways,” exclaimed Rochster Prep parent Erin Hicks.  “My daughter’s been sick for the past three months or she can’t breathe she has a hard time breathing. She’s nauseous all the time.”

“They should shut the school down immediately,” said another parent Patrick Steinmetz, “literally, immediately, they should shut the school down.“

Statements from the school and the Rochester School District say the building has been tested for TCE and levels of the chemical have been found to be below levels at which the chemical could be considered harmful for anyone exposed during an eight hour day, although some tests have shown it at levels higher than those the level recommended for a lifetime of exposure.

Questions about possible contamination at the school have already attracted the attention of personal injury lawyers.  Attorney Mike Ansaldi with the Siguenza personal injury lawfirm attended the Monday night meeting and said he had been having conversations with parents about possibly representing some of them in potential legal action.  “There are a number of people who have been found to be diagnosed with cancer that I’ve worked with in this building, that live in this area, and that is obviously concerning,” he said.


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