Think your kids are safe at school? According to this article in The New York Times, they may not be. Many of the schools in New York City have been found to contain harmful levels of PCBs. As a result, a growing number of parents are opting to keep their kids home. With medical evidence suggesting the physical and mental impairment caused from long-term exposure to PCBs, they have cause for alarm. See the excerpt below.
Parents Seek More Action on PCBs in Schools
By MIREYA NAVARRO
Published: February 3, 2011
"As the father of an 8-year-old attending Public School 36 on Staten Island, Richard P. Ghiraldi was alarmed to learn that students were being exposed to a known carcinogen.
Last month, Mr. Ghiraldi and hundreds of other parents kept their children home from school for four days after tests showed that lighting ballasts — the devices that regulate electric current for fluorescent lights — were leaking the highly toxic chemical compounds known as PCBs onto the light fixtures and floor tiles.
'I was surprised they still had these old ballasts in schools,' said Mr. Ghiraldi, a paralegal. 'You’d think the custodians and the teachers would think it’d be a danger.'
Yet as he and other parents in New York City press doctors and government officials on the risks from the aging classroom fixtures, which remain in some 800 of 1,200 city school buildings, the answers have been frustratingly vague. Adding to the parental stress, the Bloomberg administration has disputed the urgency of replacing all of the T-12-style fluorescent lighting, estimating it would cost about $1 billion. Its negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency continue.
There is no immediate health risk from PCBs lingering in schools, all are told, yet with one important caveat: the longer the exposure, the higher the risk."
Click The New York Times link above to read more.
Image courtesy of Seton.com.