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SNOWFLAKE – Copperstate Farms, the medical marijuana growth facility in Snowflake, was reported to have a chemical hazard issue involving three employees on Monday (September 2), according to a Facebook post at 9:52 a.m. by Tamie Cofin on the Neighbors Helping Neighbors in the White Mountains’ Facebook page. Taylor Snowflake Fire and Medical responded and was on the scene, according to Chief Willie Nelson, who advised that no one has been transported to the hospital.

In a phone conversation with the Independent at on Monday morning, Nelson said “The fire guys are there and things are better.”

“Copperstate Farms used a chemical to clean last night - a cleaning agent, chlorine dioxide, I believe,” said Nelson, “and there was not enough ventilation through the night. Some employees started getting irritation – burning - after starting work this morning.”

“It is not a hazard, but an irritant,” said Nelson. “Once they are out, it will likely go away. Employees are currently in another part of the building which is not affected."

The Independent reached out to the Copperstate Farms and received the following statement via email from Managing Director J. Fife Symington IV at approximately 2:15 p.m.:

“Copperstate Farms, as part of its nightly sanitation program at its Snowflake facility, uses a commercially available cleaning agent made by ProKure that contains chlorine dioxide. This ensures the facility is sanitized to exacting specifications, and in so doing protects our staff, products and our patients’ safety.

On Sunday evening, September 1st we performed the normal sanitation procedure of our processing areas. When our team members reported for work on Monday morning, September 2nd there was a lingering odor in the room. Some of our team members reported feeling “odd,” and out of an abundance of caution we had them checked out by Emergency Medical Service professionals. At our request, the Taylor-Snowflake Fire Department also performed an air quality check in the space, and reported no detectable levels of anything that would be harmful to our team members. All team members who reported symptoms were given a clean bill of health, and the facility was deemed safe for everyone to return to work.

Copperstate Farms is strongly committed to the safety and well-being of our employees, customers, and patients. We always strive do what is right," Symington said.

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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