Another US library has been forced to close due to meth contamination.

Authorities in a suburb near Denver, Colorado, closed the Englewood Library last week after test results showed contamination in the building’s toilets exceeded state limits.

Other areas, such as countertops, have also tested positive for low levels of the drug and will require special cleaning, city spokesman Chris Harguth said.

There will also be extensive work, including removal of stained surfaces, walls, ductwork and exhaust fan equipment.

Englewood, a city of about 33,000 people just south of Denver, tested methamphetamine after officials in the nearby town of Boulder closed its main library after detecting contamination.

Health officials say meth residues can cause an irritation, which can cause symptoms such as a scratchy throat, runny nose and bloodshot eyes.

But secondary exposure is not believed to cause long-term, chronic health concerns, Mr. Harguth said.

Drug use is not common at the Englewood library, but reports of it have increased in recent months as the cold weather brings more people to visit, library director Christina Underhill said. .

“Library use has changed,” he said. “More and more people are coming to use it as a shelter.

“We’re very compatible.”

Ms Underhill added that “there are some individuals who abuse this space and unfortunately put us in this position”.

Brenda Folsom, who was picking up her grandchildren from school near the library in Englewood last Thursday, said she has seen an increase in drug use in the area over the past two years, particularly at her local park.

She worries about her three- and eight-year-old grandsons, who go to the library with their father, and other eager kids might pick up needles and other drug paraphernalia in her bathroom.

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“I think if they cleaned their restrooms a little more or paid attention to the restrooms and the equipment or the people going in there, they wouldn’t have this problem,” Ms. Folsom said.

Boulder officials suggested the closure of their city’s library was the result of tougher state laws to clean up meth last month.

He pointed out that standards for the acceptability of meth contamination were developed with an eye toward homes, where exposure is more likely than in public buildings.

The city said in a Dec. 28 statement that Colorado’s laws are “among the most conservative in the nation, using great care to protect infants and children from exposure.”

Spokeswoman Annie Elliott said the Boulder library has since reopened but its bathrooms are closed as staff perform decontamination work, including replacing fans and vents.



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