Friday, October 29, 2010

A day of citywide action - A day with NYCC, elected officials, UFT reps, 32BJ, LIUNA Local 78!

Sometimes working on a campaign can be a little surreal. When you are back in the office doing background reading, making calls and fielding emails – there’s some distance. The campaign can feel like a series of tasks, things to check off my “to-do list”. But a day out in the streets brings things roaring back into perspective.

On Tuesday, October 26th, I stood with elected officials and organizers from New York Communities for Change getting petition signatures and talking to parents about potential PCB-contamination in their children’s schools. As I explained the PCBs problem to parent after parent, I was surprised to learn that many of them were unaware of the issue. Once they got it, though, they were really perplexed. Why would the City put their children in harm’s way? They all asked good questions and most wanted to know why they weren’t aware of what was going on. Why weren’t more people in the NYC Public School community told about the pilot study? Why wasn’t there more education and outreach coming from the City about something that could be so harmful to their kids? All good questions, all things we are trying to make happen. And, yes, they want testing. They want testing now. Something else we want to make happen.

Be sure to take a look at the Interactive Map

Test Our Schools-- A Citywide Day of Action

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PCBs Press Conference Tomorrow!!!

WHEN: Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 12 P.M

WHERE:  In front of City Hall
                    260 Broadway
                   New York, NY

Press Conference Outside City Hall to Demand Action on Removing Toxic PCB Chemicals from Public School Classrooms

Activists and elected officials demand that the Department of Education and the EPA take immediate action to test and clean up NYC classrooms

WHAT: PCBs – chemicals which have been proven to pose serious risks to children’s nervous and immune systems and to hamper brain development – are currently found in products like window caulk and lighting fixtures in public schools across New York City. Recent results from a pilot study conducted by the NYC Department of Education and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found significantly elevated levels of PCBs in two of three schools tested, with levels at the third also above guidances, putting thousands of kids at risk. There is every reason to believe that many schools built or renovated between 1950 and the late 1970s will be similarly contaminated.

This Thursday, October 7, at 12:00 P.M., New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a civil rights law firm that has been deeply involved in community efforts to rid New York City schools of PCBs, will join other leaders on this issue, including Congressman Jerrold Nadler and other elected officials, labor and community organizations, school employees, and parents, to hold a press conference outside of City Hall calling on the Department of Education and the EPA to test all schools built in the relevant timeframe and bring air levels at all contaminated schools within guidance levels immediately.

Confirmed speakers include:

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, United States House of Representatives

Congressman Joseph Crowley, United States House of Representatives

Congressman José Serrano, United States House of Representatives

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, New York State Assembly

New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio

Albert Rodriguez, General Counsel, Office of the Bronx Borough President

Miranda Massie, Litigation Director at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Regina Castro, New York Communities for Change

Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers

Representatives from SEIU 32BJ and the New York State Laborers’ Union


Friday, September 3, 2010

September 1st Press Conference

We'd like to thank everyone who was able to come out and make the press event such a success and also thanks to all for your effort and hard work. Here are links to some of the coverage we received:

Parents, Officials Demand City Checks Schools for PCBs

Parents and pols urge city for PCB testing at 740 schools across New York

Group Calls on DOE to Expand PCB Testing at City Schools

Monday, August 23, 2010

NYLPI’s and the PCB-Free NYC Schools Coalition’s final written submission to the EPA

Here is NYLPI’s and the PCB-Free NYC Schools Coalition’s final written submission to the EPA regarding the proposed rule that would lower some regulatory protections for PCBs. It was delivered on Friday, August 20th, 2010. Many thanks to the folks who attended hearings, participated in strategy sessions and contributed to the drafting of the document. There’s also an impressive list of supporting organizations on the signer’s page and it shows that there’s a growing community of committed advocates, parents and experts working to protect our environmental health. To learn more, please contact Gigi Gazon at

*Note* Refer to our post from August 4, 2010:

August 20, 2010

Document Control Office (7407M)
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT)
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460

Re: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking on PCB use authorizations

Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0757
Dear Madam/Sir:
For two years and several months, New York City (NYC) has been home to a series of community efforts to rid schools of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and in particular of the PCBs found in caulk. A Bronx coalition of concerned parents, the NYC Coalition for PCB-Free Schools, together with parents, school maintenance workers, teachers, and community members from across the metro area, has worked with environmental justice, environmental, and labor organizations, staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and elected officials to advocate for action on this emerging public health threat. This firm has partnered with the coalition in these efforts and represented one of its members in litigation over PCBs in her daughter’s Bronx elementary school. We now submit these comments in response to the advance notice captioned above on behalf of the coalition and other organizations and individuals profoundly troubled by EPA’s current proposal to weaken or eliminate its regulations pertaining to PCBs in caulk and other non-liquid products. We strongly urge EPA not to take this large step in the wrong direction. PCBs in caulk pose a significant threat to children’s health and demand more regulation and enforcement, not less.

Friday, August 20, 2010

NY1 on PCBs

This clip features Gigi Gazon, Community Organizer for New York Lawyers to the Public Interest. Gigi provides technical and organizing assistance to the NYC PCB-free Schools Coalition.

Higher Than Accepted Levels of PCBs Found in Three City Schools

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Elevated PCB Levels in Schools

Yesterday, the New York Times published this article:Tests Find Elevated PCB Levels in 3 Public Schools. . .
What are your thoughts?