Parents of West Florence High students taking kids to hospital for carbon monoxide testing

(WPDE file image)

We've learned more parents of students at West Florence High School are taking their children to the hospital to be tested for carbon monoxide exposure, saying their kids are getting sick at school.

Florence School District One (FSD1) has given us a written copy of results from a test conducted last week on a possible carbon monoxide leak in a biology classroom at West Florence High School showing there was no leak, according to the FSD1 Public Information Office Pam Little-McDaniel.

Related - District: No carbon monoxide found at West Florence High School

The report shows that the CO levels did not exceed 4 parts per million.

But some parents are convinced that something is wrong because their children are testing positive for high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood.

According to the Consumer Safety Product Commission, "most people will not experience any symptoms from prolonged exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm but some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain."

McLeod Regional Medical Center released the following information about how they test for carbon monoxide exposure.

Clinical laboratory testing at McLeod Regional Medical Center does not test specifically for carbon monoxide, but for carboxyhemoglobin. Carboxyhemoglobin is a physiological by-product of carbon monoxide exposure and is typically what is measured. Carbon monoxide occurs by two means, endogenous production by our bodies at low levels and environmental exposure. Disease states that cause a break down in red blood cells can result in mildly elevated carboxyhemoblobin levels. Additionally, environmental exposure such as car exhaust, furnaces, kerosene heaters and smoking (primary or secondary) can result in elevated levels.
At McLeod, our reference level for carboxyhemoglobin is < 1.5%. It is set at a low level to allow for any detectable increase in carboxyhemoglobin either from disease states or environmental exposure. This allows our clinicians to assess the significance of a particular measurement based on the clinical situation.
It would be incorrect to assume that mildly increased values above 1.5% represent acute environmental carbon monoxide poisoning.
As with any laboratory result, the interpretation of the findings must be done in the context of the clinical situation. Regarding our testing platform, we perform daily quality control measures to assure that the test is analytically accurate.

Many parents said they plan to show up at Thursday's school board meeting to voice their concerns about this matter.

The school's science labs have been closed temporarily until the detectors can be installed, according to the district.

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