Dozens of students sickened as 'styrene' from cured-in-place pipe lining project strikes school

Emily Le Coz, USA TODAY on June 11, 2023

Students and staff at Merrimack Valley High School were halfway through fourth period when a harsh odor permeated classrooms and hallways throughout the two-story brick building, nestled along a wooded area bordering New Hampshire’s capital city of Concord.

The scent was potent and nauseating. And it soon caused trouble, as it sickened one person after another.

Dozens of teenagers streamed into the school health office complaining of headaches, light-headedness, watering eyes, sore throats, irritated noses and vomiting. At least 40 students and six staff members fell ill, and about 50 were dismissed early, as school officials scrambled to identify the source of the smell.

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