Parts of Sky Valley Education Center tested for contaminants

MONROE — Officials with the Monroe School District and Snohomish Health District announced Wednesday that parts of the Sky Valley Education Center are being closed to test for contaminants.

The school district received complaints last year about headaches, upset stomachs, eye irritation and respiratory troubles after being in certain rooms at the school, which offers alternative learning options to more than 800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The district hired crews to look into what might be causing the concerns and how to fix them. Tests found elevated levels of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. Manufacturing of PCBs was stopped in the U.S. in 1977 because they were linked to harmful health and environmental effects.

The school district does not believe the elevated levels of PCBs are linked to health issues, spokeswoman Erin Zacharda said.

Over the summer, more than $1 million was spent on updates at the building and on testing to monitor air quality, Zacharda said. There have not been formal complaints to the district about health problems this school year, she said.

However, during a recent, now-routine test, seven spaces in the school showed possible contamination. A second test came back clean, but “out of an abundance of caution,” those seven spaces are being closed until another test can be completed, Zacharda said. Two of the spaces are classrooms. Others are smaller areas such as an electrical room.

The rest of the school is operating normally.

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