03/08/05 — Illness at the Duplin business expo blamed on lighting system problems

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Illness at the Duplin business expo blamed on lighting system problems

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 8, 2005 1:53 PM

WALLACE -- Malfunctioning lighting led to the closing of the Duplin County Business Expo on Saturday, officials say.

The annual event, held at the New Duplin Warehouse in Wallace, shut down after several people developed skin and eye irritations.

Lou Powell, the president of the Duplin First Council, which sponsors the event, apologized to those inconvenienced by the problem.

He said inspectors from the town, county and the Epidemiology Section of the state Department of Health and Human Services determined that an older type mercury vapor light in the building lacked the proper shielding and caused the burning sensation reported by several people.

Powell said the expo enjoyed a successful opening on Friday and that organizers had been looking forward to another large crowd of visitors Saturday.

"The Duplin First Council Board will be meeting in the near future to review the situation and determine the future of the Expo and evaluate how to make sure no similar problems occur again," said Powell. "The Duplin First Council appreciates everyone's support and understanding in this trying situation."