A second library in the US has been forced to close due to meth contamination.
Last week, officials in a suburb near Denver, Colorado, closed the Englewood Library after tests showed the building’s toilets were contaminated above state thresholds.
City spokesman Chris Harguth said other spaces, such as countertops, also tested positive for lower levels of the drug and required specialized cleaning.
More extensive work will also be undertaken, including the removal of contaminated surfaces, walls, ductwork and exhaust fan equipment.
Englewood, a city of about 33,000 people south of Denver, was tested for methamphetamine after officials in the nearby town of Boulder closed its main library after officials found contamination.
Meth residue can be irritating, causing symptoms such as itchy throat, runny nose and bloodshot eyes, health officials said.
But Mr Harguth said secondary exposure was not believed to cause long-term, chronic health problems.
Englewood Library Director Christina Underhill said drug use is not common at Englewood Library but has been reported in recent months as cooler weather has led to more visits. increased.
“The purpose of the library has changed,” she said. “More and more people are starting to use it as a shelter.
“We’re very accommodating.”
Ms Underhill added that “some people have misused this space and unfortunately put us in this position”.
Brenda Folsom, who was picking up her grandson at the school near the Englewood library last Thursday, said she has seen an increase in drug use in the area over the past two years, especially in her in the local park.
She worries about her 3- and 8-year-old grandsons, who go to the library with their father, and other curious kids who might pick up needles and other drug paraphernalia in their bathroom.
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“I don’t think they would have had this problem if they had cleaned the restroom a little more, or paid attention to the restroom and what’s in it, or the people who go there,” Ms Folsom said.
Boulder officials said the closure of their city’s library last month was a result of the state’s strict meth cleanup rules.
They point out that standards on acceptable levels of methamphetamine contamination are set for households, which are more exposed to methamphetamine than public buildings.
The city said in a Dec. 28 statement that Colorado’s rules are “one of the most conservative in the country, taking great care to protect infants and children from exposure.”
Spokeswoman Annie Elliott said the Boulder library has reopened, but its bathrooms remain closed as staff are conducting decontamination work, including replacing fans and vents.