Two Schools Tested, Given Health Clearance

February 14, 1991|By Dianne Williams Hayes | Dianne Williams Hayes,Staff writer

County officials, answering parents and faculty concerned over a spate of illnesses at two county schools, issued clean bills of health yesterday for both buildings.

Officials said they could find no dangerous conditions at Jessup Elementary school, despite reports that 10 teachers and aides have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer.

After tests for radon gas levels and air and water quality, health officials said they could establish no link between the cancer and the school building.

Principal Preston Hebron had been swamped with calls from parents concerned about the safety of the more than 600 students attending the school.

Teachers and instructional aides with breast, ovarian, skin and thyroid cancer requested that the schoolbe tested after learning of other cases. Diagnosis of the teachers span a 14-year period.

"Parents are pretty much satisfied," Hebron said yesterday. "We are monitoring and continuing to work with the environmental segment of the Board of Education as they continue to look at samples."

Dr. Katherine P. Farrell, director of Community Health Services for the county, said the cases did not appear to be linked. Except for skin cancer, none of the types of cancer at the schoolare caused by environmental factors.

"I think the staff should bereassured that while we will continue to examine this closely, theredoes not appear to be anything unusual going on, nor is there a concern about the school environment," Farrell said.

School officials also said they found no health problem at Jacobsville Elementary in Pasadena.

School Superintendent Larry L. Lorton said yesterday thatreports from the Occupational Medical Center, an air-monitoring firmin Lanham, indicates that air quality is "not a problem at this timeand poses no health threat to students or staff."

The school was tested in the fall and again in January because of complaints of moldfrom the school's roof, which has leaked for 10 years.

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