Salem building with gym, childcare center temporarily closes due - KPTV - FOX 12

Salem building with gym, childcare center temporarily closes due to lead dust levels

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Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV
Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV

A Salem building that houses a gym with a small childcare facility and other businesses has temporarily closed due to high lead dust levels.

The Oregon Health Authority called the levels "extremely high" in the building at 576 Patterson St. N.W. The multi-use commercial building once stored batteries and now contains at least six businesses.

Along with the CrossFit gym and childcare center, the building has a home renovation firm, a baseball training facility with indoor batting cages, a catering business, a roller skating rink and a microbrewery that is currently under construction, along with storage and office space.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits lead levels at childcare facilities to 40 micrograms per square foot on floors, 250 micrograms per square foot for windowsills and 400 micrograms per square foot on window troughs.

Many samples in the building tested in the thousands. One sample from the brewery floor was 2,115 micrograms per square foot and one from the windowsill was 6,127 micrograms per square foot.

The highest sample was in an electrical panel in the batting cages that tested at 188,636 micrograms per square foot.

Only one sample, on the gym floor, measured less than 5 micrograms per square foot.

The Oregon Health Authority reported that the owner voluntarily closed the building at the request of state agencies for further testing, inspection and cleanup.

Although the extent of the public’s exposure to areas of the building with the highest lead dust levels and the precise degree of the health risks are not known, children are most at risk of long-term health effects because their bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains are still developing, according to the EPA. 

There are no known illnesses connected with this situation, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Anyone with concerns about possible exposure should contact their health care provider.

Polk County Public Health is offering free blood lead testing for children ages 1-18 and pregnant or breastfeeding women who may have been exposed to lead while inside the building. Testing will be offered from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 28 at Polk County's West Salem location, 1520 Plaza St. N.W.. Those interested can call 503-623-8175 for more information. 

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