Students at local high school concerned over roofing fumes filling classrooms


by Staff

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 7:29 AM

UPDATE: On Wednesday, officials with the Fox School District said they hired an environmental testing firm to monitor air samples inside and outside of Fox High School.

ARNOLD, Mo ( -- Students at a local high school are saying a construction project is making them sick.

Fox High School is undergoing a roofing project, and fumes from the materials are bothering students in the halls and in the classroom.

“All you can smell is tar going through people’s systems and making them sick,” said student Alex Benham.

Benham isn’t alone in his complaints, so News 4 tried to speak with the superintendent. She was unavailable, so crews were not allowed in the school, but even just being outside the building was enough to smell the project.

Students say conditions inside are impossible to ignore.

Tyler Harris says it affects his concentration.

“It gives me headaches,” he said- noting they last all day.

The roofing project started two weeks ago at Fox. The smell isn’t the only reported problem either. One student emailed to say a worker’s boot came through a classroom ceiling.

The assistant superintendent says he wasn’t aware there was any problem or any complaints about the smell, and he insists the fumes are not toxic.

There was a study by the CDC done in 2000 that concluded the fumes from these particular materials can be irritating; and while carcinogens may exist in asphalt fumes the connection between the fumes and cancer was inconclusive.

But it’s made some students worry about what they’re breathing.

“It’s really bad depending on where you are in the classroom,” said Taylor Kitners. “It just stinks throughout the whole school.”

The new roof is expected to be finished within a couple of weeks.