California state and U.S. federal authorities are investigating the possibility that batches of plastic flutes allegedly contaminated with semen were distributed to schools in Southern California this past spring. Health officials said Monday the flutes posed negligible health risks to the children who came in contact with them.

Parents from 14 school districts, including Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley districts, were warned of the supposed contamination. Investigators were investigating a male music specialist who visited Southern California schools through a program called Flutes Across the World, according to the Saugus Union School District. The school district told students who had a Flutes Across the World instrument to place it inside a paper bag and contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Office.

Flutes Across the World is listed as a “non-profit NGO based in Ojai, California” on an archived version of its website. Its objective is to receive one flute and give one flute away to a child across the world. According to the organization, every $10 donation helps buy 30 mouthpieces for a whole class. The music specialist who visited the Southern California schools distributed flutes to the students. 

The United State Postal Inspection Service, the California Department of Justice, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and other agencies were inspecting the matter. According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, semen dies quickly when exposed to air— most likely within 20 minutes — and the health risks, including STD infection, would be minimal. 

Dr. Carl Schultz, a professor emeritus of emergency medicine and public health at UC Irvine, confirmed health risks from the flutes would be low. 

“Unless this guy smeared his semen on the flute and handed it to the kids right away, there’s really not a risk of transferring anything,” he said. 

“We were informed that an independent contractor who provided a music enrichment program to the fifth-grade classes at Courreges Elementary School, in June 2017 gave the students flutes/recorders that were potentially contaminated with bodily fluids,” Fountain Valley School District Superintendent Mark Johnson said in an email

Parents expressed disgust and many said they were “sickened” by the allegations, reported Los Angeles CBS-affiliate KCBS

“My kids have brought these flutes home. They’re putting their mouths on it, and they’re playing with these instruments,” Tudy Balta, a Fountain Valley school district parent told KCBS. “For someone to contaminate it with their bodily fluids, that’s disgusting. My kids could’ve gotten sick.”

It is not clear at this time what prompted initial suspicions concerning the flutes.