Almost 75 elementary school students in Queens had to be hospitalized earlier this week after they got sick by drinking contaminated water from a school water fountain, even after they noticed that the water had a decidedly pink color.
An outside contractor working on the air-conditioning system had somehow managed to get propylene glycol (a chemical often used as a non-toxic antifreeze) mixed into the school’s water supply. In addition to turning the water in the fountains, sinks and toilets pink, it also tastes sweet.
“Probably because [the chemical] was sweet, they kept drinking the water,” said Dr. Glen Asaeda of the FDNY.
All 71 children taken to the hospital are expected to be just fine. The same can’t be said for the contractor whose screw-up created the tasty water.
“The company clearly made a mistake,” said the Deputy Environmental Protection Commissioner, in his entry for understatement of the year.
For now, students are being provided with bottled water.