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Health Department: GR buildings evacuated because of chemical vapors

Posted: 9:46 PM, May 20, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-20 21:46:24-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. —   Vapors of chemicals from a former dry cleaning business prompted the Kent County Health Department to evacuate two nearby buildings and an apartment in Grand Rapids.

According to a release, evacuation orders were issued Thursday at The Red Project, 401 Hall St. SE, and Seeds of Promise, 1168 Madison SE, after the buildings had unsafe vapor levels of tetracholorethylene (PERC).  An apartment at 1170 Madison SE was also evacuated.

The health department says acceptable levels of PERC are 6 parts per billion, and the affected buildings had levels between 25 and 50 parts per billion.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says that the vapors came from a former dry cleaning business that was located at 413 Hall St. SE.    The business has been closed since 1995, but a test earlier this month showed high levels of the vapors.

Health officials are only concerned with people who work or live at the affected buildings, and many of them have already had blood and urine tests.  According to a release, the health department “does not believe that acute health problems are likely.”

It’s unclear when people will be allowed back in the buildings.