Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

91°F

Portland

Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 32%

Wind: 8 mph

  • 28 Jul 2014

    Clear 90°F 61°F

  • 29 Jul 2014

    Sunny 91°F 60°F


First-graders fine after tasting de-icer

A dozen Joseph Gale students who sampled pellets back in class


Which is which? One of these colorful piles is the sugary treat Pop Rocks and the other is a salty de-icing combo of sodium chloride and magnesium. Can you tell the difference better than a dozen Joseph Gale students? Which is which? One of these colorful piles is the sugary treat Pop Rocks and the other is a salty de-icing combo of sodium chloride and magnesium. Can you tell the difference better than a dozen Joseph Gale students? A blue de-icer product sprinkled on sidewalks outside Joseph Gale Elementary School during freezing weather last week turned out to be too tantalizing for some young students to resist.

Twelve first- and second-graders who spied the non-toxic material on the ground at lunch recess Wednesday, Dec. 4, told teachers at the Forest Grove school they had either tasted or ingested the pellets, which are made of sodium chloride and magnesium. “Basically just salt,” said Principal Melissa Carter.

The de-icer “has kind of a blue tint to it, and when the sun is shining it shimmers and it’s enticing,” Carter said, adding that she had made an announcement just that morning about the pellets, warning students not to touch them.

But after one boy picked up a few pellets — which look quite a bit like Pop Rocks candy — and licked his fingers, others followed suit, said Carter.

“He said to the other kids, ‘It’s kind of salty,’ and some of them started doing the same thing,” she noted.

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue personnel evaluated the children after a few complained of stomach aches, but none were transported to the hospital after the incident. “We got them all in, washed their hands and called 911,” said Carter. “We checked with the [Oregon] Poison Center, and then the fire department showed up.”

All the students’ parents were contacted, she said.

“One student went back to class and then decided she didn’t feel well, so her parent picked her up,” Carter said Thursday. “But she’s back in school today.”

It’s common for the school district to lay down de-icer to prevent falls by staff and students during inclement weather, officials said. Carter didn’t know whether the same product would be used in the future.

“It’s a balance between making sure the sidewalks are safe and ensuring the safety of our students,” she said.

Staff were relieved none of the students were sickened by the pellets.

“Most of them were more involved with coloring pictures for the firefighters than anything else,” Carter said.