State Assemblyman requesting further study of reported illnesses at Long Island middle school

NORTHPORT, Long Island (WABC) -- Ongoing reports about foul odors impacting students at a middle school in Long Island, profiled in an Eyewitness News investigation, are prompting inquiries from state lawmakers expressing concern.

This month, Assemblyman Andrew Raia who represents Northport, wrote the New York State Department of Health requesting "a longitudinal study of illnesses that may have been caused by the negative health conditions existing at Northport Middle School."

NMS has been the repeated focus of inquiries related to air quality and the improper storage and disposal of potential contaminants over multiple decades.

Many teachers and students have also expressed concerns they were sickened from negative conditions at the school.

The situation reached a breaking point in 2017 when the district temporarily shut down a portion of the school for renovations and clean up following revelations the district had been storing hazardous chemicals and occasionally, a vehicle, in a warehouse below classrooms.

Most recently, in October, the district ordered air quality testing and an examination of the school ventilation system by an outside contractor when students again reported foul odors.

In a letter to parents following those tests, Principal Tim Hoss indicated the school "did not identify the presence of any indoor air quality conditions that would prohibit the classrooms from being occupied by students and staff."

In a statement Wednesday, a spokesperson for DOH acknowledged Assemblyman Raia's letter and said the department is reviewing "cancer reportedly developed among former students of the Northport/East Northport Union Free School District."

The spokesperson said the Department planned to share its findings in early 2020 and added that "any further investigation will depend on the findings of the ongoing review."

Thursday, concerned parents are planning to hold a sick out at the school ahead of a district board meeting in which Superintendent Robert Banzer has indicated he would recommend further testing at the school.

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