Preschool closes after air supply is contaminated

Michael's Energy Factory, a preschool in Paterson, was forced to shut down after a toxic chemical was discovered in the school's air supply.

The school, which is located on 101 Oliver St., has now been forced to move more than 200 students to a new location on Main Street.

The chemical found was dichlorobenzene and is commonly used in moth balls and deodorizers. According to Mary Ann Mirko, who runs the pre-school, a factory that manufactured moth balls once stood where the school is now located.

The old factory was demolished years ago, but the state Department of Health and Senior Services says the chemical is still in the air and in the new building.

The levels of the chemical are considered safe for adults, but not for children and according to the Health Department can cause dizziness, upset stomachs, headaches and liver problems.

An activated carbon filter is now being used to clean the air, but in the meantime, the school says concerned parents should talk to their doctors about any health concerns with their children.

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