JUNEAU, Alaska — Fourteen people, including 12 kids, apparently drank chemical floor sealant instead of milk Tuesday during a summer program at an elementary school because large pouches of the chemical were stacked on the same pallet as boxes containing large pouches of milk, Juneau School District Superintendent Bridget Weiss said Wednesday.
“That’s when the beginning of this mismatch began,” she said.
There are still plenty of questions and plenty of angry parents demanding answers following the incident at Sít’ Eeti Shaanáx-Glacier Valley Elementary School. Those who drank the fluid were expected to fully recover. Weiss said school, food service and police officials are still trying to determine how the switch happened and what actions may be taken.
The liquid was Hillyard Seal 341, which according to a safety data sheet is “expected to be a low ingestion hazard.” Weiss said there is typically a 48-hour window for people who’ve ingested it to show symptoms.
The breakfast was for students ages 5-12.
The meals are being served by NANA Management Services. Dawn Kimberlin, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications, said the company is working closely with the district to determine the cause of the mix-up.
The Juneau Police Department is the lead investigator in the incident, Weiss said.
Numerous parents of students who ingested the solvent, as well as parents other youths in the program, expressed anger in forums ranging from local social media sites to national news publications about aspects of the incident, including the district taking a few hours to notify parents rather than doing so immediately. Weiss said the district is trying to update parents regularly, but “our first priority is those families who are impacted.”
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