PCB contamination

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest released a list of all New York City schools and the potential and confirmed PCB contamination in the schools’ caulk and lights. There are over 1,200 schools citywide that may be PCB-contaminated. Check if you child’s school is potentially contaminated by clicking here.

Together with our coalition partners, NYLPI helped launch the PCB Lights Out campaign to help parents conduct walk throughs to find signs of visibly leaking PCB light fixtures in order to expedite the complete replacement of PCB lights at their children’s schools.  Learn more at PCB Lights Out.

NYLPI Files Lawsuit Against the City to Expedite the Removal of PCB-Containing Light Ballasts in NYC Schools

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest filed a federal lawsuit on July 20, 2011 against the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the School Construction Authority (SCA) under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of New York Communities for Change (NYCC), an organization whose membership includes thousands of parents across the city. The suit alleges that thousands of light fixtures across New York City are leaking highly toxic PCBs in violation of federal law and are thereby endangering the health of NYC schoolchildren. To see a copy of the complaint, click here. Click here for the press release.

  • On August 17, 2011, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest representing New York Communities for Change filed the attached Notice of Intent to Sue the NYC Department of Education and School Construction Authority under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. This new notice of intent to sue will be joined with the litigation mentioned above. Click here to see a copy of the notice of intent to sue.

Previously concealed caulk and lighting ballast data from the 2010 PCBs Pilot Study was recently released through a Freedom of Information Act request:

41 City Council Members Demand Quick Action on PCB Lighting in New York City Public Schools

NYLPI drafted a letter to EPA Regional Administrator Enck from 41 New York City Council Members insisting that the EPA require the City to follow a strict two-year plan to replace obsolete, PCB-leaking light bulbs in schools across the city. Click here to read the letter.

NYLPI Report: PCB Lighting in NYC Schools: Dangerous, Inefficient and Obsolete

NYLPI Co-Hosts Expert Panel on PCBs

On November 30th, concerned parents, school employees, community members, and elected officials crowded into a meeting hall at the Teamsters Local 237 building in Manhattan to take part in an interactive, town-hall styled expert panel on the health effects of PCBs. New York Communities for Change and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest organized the panel with Laborers Local 78, and SEIU 32BJ.  Angered by misleading recent statements by the Department of Education (DOE) stating that PCBs pose no immediate health threat, the crowd came to get answers about the true nature of the daily risks faced by children, teachers, and workers in schools across the city.

Please click here for a summary of the discussions.

NYLPI Releases List of Schools Contaminated by PCBs

The NYC Department of Education (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an agreement for the DOE to carry out a pilot study to determine the amount of toxic PCB chemicals in five New York City public schools. The initial results from three schools, released recently, found dangerously elevated levels of PCBs.  Any classroom built between the 1950s and late 1970s is potentially at risk of contamination.  While the Department of Education has moved quickly to reduce air levels of PCBs in the three pilot study schools, hundreds of additional schools are likely to contain contaminated light fixtures, contaminated caulk, or both.

Please click here to see if your school is on the list.

If you would like to join the campaign for PCB-free schools, please click here to fill out the form and a NYLPI staff member will reach out to you.

State and City Representatives, NYCC and NYLPI  Petition Outside New York City Schools to Demand Action

On Tuesday, October 26th and Wednesday October 27th, elected officials from across the city joined , New York Communities for Change, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, representatives from the UFT, 32BJ, LIUNA Local 78, other labor organizations, and parents, outside a dozen potentially contaminated NYC public schools as part of a citywide movement to demand that DOE and EPA rid all NYC schools of PCBs. As children filed into their classrooms in the morning (and at some schools during the afternoon), parents, teachers, and school employees  were asked to sign a petition demanding the immediate and comprehensive testing of all schools built or renovated during the time PCBs were used in building materials.

Please click here to see an interactive map of the event and photos of elected officials and members of this campaign in action.

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