OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — West Oakland’s McClymonds high school remained closed Friday, following the discovery of the cancer causing chemical trichloroethylene or TCE in the groundwater below the school. 

The concern is it may be vaporizing and coming up from the ground into the building.

“We will start the air testing tomorrow,” OUSD spokesman John Sasaki said. “It will continue into next week.”

Environmental health officials will also testing the soil around the school.

The discovery of TCE at McClymonds High School coupled with the TCE that the state has been cleaning up less than a half mile away at the lane metal finishers site, now labeled as hazardous, has neighborhood residents worried.

“If it’s at the school it’s likely other places as well,” Maurice Arnold said.

“I am concerned it could be all over the neighborhood,” Pamela Brown said.

Those who work here are also concerned.

“We have over 9,000 people who live within a half mile of this location,” Brahm Ahmadi, CEO of Community Foods Market said. “How many are exposed or are at risk of being exposed? I think it’s the responsibility of the county and state and study at a broader level to give us some degree of confidence that we are safe and our children are safe.”

In a statement, the State Department of Toxic Substances Control said, “we are looking into other contaminated sites in the area to determine if there is a connection with the TCE levels found in groundwater at the school.”

The state says it will analyze all of the samples to determine the additional actions needed and what DTSC can best do to ensure the safety of the school. It makes no mention of any protections for the community.

As far as the students from McClymonds High, the district hopes to resume classes as early as Wednesday at another nearby location.

But at this point they have yet to select that location.

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