Day care parents warned about toxic air

July 24, 2008 5:32:38 PM PDT
A scare for some Oakland parents about the air their children are breathing inside a day care center.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be testing it for toxic chemicals as well as testing several nearby homes and businesses. They're near a former metal plating company site.

The toxic chemicals were found in a lot three houses down from the day care center. Many parents didn't know of the potential danger their kids were facing, until they got dropped off in the morning.

Parents dropping off at the Child Development Center on 30th Street in West Oakland left with one sheet of paper and a little worry.

"I was concerned because it could be harmful to my children," said one concerned parent.

That's because high levels of toxic gases were discovered at an empty lot on 30th Street and San Pablo Avenue. Many years ago, it was the site of a metal plating shop.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency will take air samples from the Child Development Center and from several nearby homes to see if the toxic had been released into the air.

"There are chemicals that are present at all plating shops, and usually they are contained within the operating equipment, within the plating. This particular plating shop wasn't very careful with their chemicals and released a lot of them," said Bret Moxley from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The day care declined to speak to ABC7 News, but the center is open and notifying parents of the environmental testing.

Keiera Chatman dropped off her 3-year-old this morning, and she says she is going to keep tabs on the situation.

"They just gave me a notice, it's a work notice about it, and she just basically told me about it and I was going to go over it, and if I have any other questions I was going to just give her a call," said Chatman.

Some of the chemicals found have been known to cause cancer. One neighbor is sure it has caused many of her health problems.

"The smell that came out of there at 5:00 o'clock, because at 5:00 o'clock they would nip those chemicals in the ground and dump out that at the end of the day," said Linda Jenkins.

The EPA says it is optimistic that a layer of clay on the vacant lot helped track in some of those chemicals. The testing will begin tomorrow, and some of the results will be in by Monday.


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