Since our founding, I started knocking on doors for individuals, communities and lawmakers to take on leadership within their communities to protect human health. I ask that people make a commitment to stand up and not accept the status quo but to defend and protect the health of their children and their futures.
Today I am knocking on the door of Montgomery County Schools in Maryland because there is something they can do starting now.
Recently the Washington Post reported, that Springbrook High, in Montgomery County Maryland sprayed a harmful chemical application that included spraying football equipment in an effort to prevent a suspected staph infection from spreading.
The efforts of the school were proactive in their thinking, and I am certain they thought they were taking "healthy" steps to prevent illness not cause it. That said this is where the road splits on intentions and intelligence on the part of the school board. While one can hardly blame employees, clearly as with many schools, there are either inadequate or non-existent "best practices" for the school system in handling these very toxic and harmful chemicals. No surprise these children started turning up with burns that even hospitalized one for three days and who now will also miss the rest of the football season.
The disinfectant Virex ll 256 as reported by the Washington Post used in this incident warns on its label: "PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS HAZARD TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS DANGER: Corrosive. Causes irreversible eye damage and skin burns. Do not get in eyes, on skin or on clothing. Wear chemical splash-proof goggles or face shield, rubber gloves and protective clothing. Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin. Avoid breathing spray mist. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse."
I called the general number for Montgomery County Public Schools that oversees this school. They transferred me a few times before getting turned over to the school board office. My question- what is the school board doing to create best practices to prevent this from happening again? While I did not get an answer, I did leave my number.
While historically it has been difficult to regulate these harmful chemicals today we can create best practices to work towards preventing this from ever happening again in any school. Should they continue to use these chemicals, the school board needs to engage and collaborate with experts to ensure that children do not suffer any future harmful exposures.
My call to action is for the Montgomery County school board is to institute best practices immediately to prevent these types of exposures that can have both long and short term effects. As parents, please reach out to your school boards to insure there are best practices in place to prevent this from happening in your child's school.