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Parents Call Out School District Over Potentially Toxic Carpet In Woodland

WOODLAND, Calif. (CBS13) — Parents in Woodland are concerned over potentially toxic carpet in their children's classrooms, and several parents claim the fumes from the newly installed carpet have made their kids sick.

The complaints came about this summer at Beamer Elementary. Parents say the smell of the chemicals was so strong, their kids have experienced changes in their health.

"As parents, we have to be there to defend the rights of our students, we have to make sure they're inhaling safe, clean air," said Deborah Bautista-Zavala.

While the district says they've addressed the issue, some parents say they haven't done enough.

"My daughter has since had stomach aches and headaches," said Zavala.

Zavala says her 8-year-old daughter started experiencing symptoms including nausea shortly after the carpet was installed just before the start of the school year.

"We came to realize that my daughter wasn't the only one with the symptoms, and after some research, we realized it comes from chemical exposure from carpeting," she said.

Liza Grandia and her daughter also shared a similar experience with the fumes.

"It was a smell that you associate with heavy chemicals. I instantly got a headache," said Grandia.

Grandia, a UC Davis professor, says she's done research on the topic and says the installation of the carpet was poorly done.

"The common practice would be to off-gas the carpet off-site in a warehouse, but this was unrolled straight from the factory into the classroom," said Grandia

Since then Callie Lutz, spokesperson with the Woodland Joint Unified School District says "we did ventilate it heavily to try and get rid of that smell."

The district says it looked into the concerns.

"So we did reach out to the manufacturer to make sure everything was ok with the carpet, with the adhesive, the products used to install it, and there were no concerns from our end after doing some of that research," said Lutz.

But some parents aren't convinced their kids are safe and want the carpet tested or removed.

"The truth is the manufacturers are there to cover themselves they're not thinking about the children," said Zavala.

"We've been asking questions for three months and still can't get basic answers like what cleaning chemicals are you buying," said Grandia.

While the district says all of the products it uses are highly regulated, parents have since wanted answers to other concerns including the district's use of pesticide spraying and basic everyday products kids use.

"Our priority is always the safety of our children, and if there are still concerns that's a two-way conversation we're always willing to have," said Lutz.

Meanwhile, the district is considering a pilot program, where more sustainable green products can be introduced to their campuses.

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