Fumes to keep Kahuku School closed
A pesticide sprayed nearby is suspected of affecting 15 last week
Kahuku High and Intermediate School will be closed again today because of a lingering odor that sickened 13 students and two teachers last week.
The school was closed Friday because of the fumes. Teachers could still smell a noxious pesticide odor yesterday while having professional development workshops at the school, said Greg Knudsen, spokesman for the Department of Education.
No one fell ill yesterday. The school was closed to students because of the scheduled workshops.
"It is still kind of in the air," Knudsen said.
A toxicologist with the state Department of Health was scheduled to visit the school today to speak with staff and investigate the problem, said spokeswoman Janice Okubo.
The odor was first noticed on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the pesticide Orthene was sprayed on 9,000 feet of turf at a sod farm about 300 feet from the school, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture inspectors collected grass samples Friday at a fence separating the school from the farm, said Bob Boesch, the department's pesticides program manager. Test results are not expected for two weeks, he said.
Calls placed to the farm, Ameri-Turf, after business hours yesterday were not returned. But farm manager Andrew Gon has said the grub-killing pesticide was not used on Thursday.
The active ingredient in Orthene, acephate, is not highly toxic, and farmers are allowed to enter a field 24 hours after spraying it, Boesch said.
The students and teachers sickened last week are doing fine, Knudsen said.