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'Kids have been getting sick:' Parents remove students from Dartmouth school over air quality

The Halifax Regional School Board says air quality at Ian Forsyth Elementary School is OK.

Ian Forsyth Elementary School in Dartmouth.

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Ian Forsyth Elementary School in Dartmouth.

The Halifax Regional School Board says air quality at a Dartmouth elementary school is fine after parents with children at the school voiced their concerns over strange odours.

Odour complaints at Ian Forsyth Elementary School led the school board to contact ALL-TECH Environmental Services to complete a Feb. 22 site visit and do air quality testing inside the school.

The building's roof has been under construction, and that was believed to have been the cause of the odour.

That possible cause has since been dismissed.

ALL-TECH, the HRSB project manager, the school’s administrator and the roofing contractor were all in attendance during last month’s visit.

The air quality test revealed levels of benzene that were above American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and Threshold Limit Values (TLV) guidelines, but those findings have been categorized as “undetermined concentration due to elevated reportable detection limits.”

Metro Halifax was contacted via email by multiple parents who have since pulled their children out of school, even after HRSB issued a statement saying the school was safe for occupancy.

While not wanting to talk on the record, the parents who reached out are still concerned for their children's safety.

"I know several parents (besides me) have also pulled their kids out of school, and our teacher is concerned,” one father told Metro.

"Kids have been getting sick, mine included,” another father said.

In an emailed statement, the school board said they’re taking corrective measures to maintain fresh air flows. They also said they’ll continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis.

Beginning Wednesday, the school will be taking follow up samples, including additional locations along with more detailed air samplings.

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