Local News

Safety commission: Drywall not connected to Bragg baby deaths

Posted February 10, 2011 11:28 a.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2011 7:14 p.m. EST

— The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that there is no connection between the drywall in Fort Bragg's military housing and the unexplained deaths of 10 children under age 2 since the beginning of 2007.

The commission also found no water or air contamination problems and "no overt mold growth."

Levels of pesticides – permethrin and cypermethrin – were on the "upper end of normal," but not enough to be hazardous, officials said. More studies will be done on the pesticides.

In October, Fort Bragg officials said results from their own testing ruled out any environmental problems in their homes, including toxic drywall.

Eleven children, ages 8 months to 2 years, have died in military housing on post since 2007, including one house where two infants died within three months. Thursday's report only focused on 10 of the deaths.

Two children lived in the same house, but the other children lived in different neighborhoods and in homes of varying ages and construction styles, according to Army officials.

Fort Bragg has tested 10 homes connected to the deaths for carbon monoxide, mercury vapor, mold, lead, asbestos and toxins in the drywall.

All the tests were negative or were at levels well below the standard for human exposure set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg's garrison commander. Those levels, however, are based upon adults, he said.

Officials do not suspect foul play in any of the deaths.

Army officials have said the rate of unexplained infant deaths is not necessarily anomalous for a community the size of Bragg, but that the two 2009 deaths so close together merited an investigation.

Fort Bragg is home to the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Forces. About 45,000 people live on the base, including about 6,200 families.