Thursday, May 22, 2008

Full text of NYC Dept of Health testimony at NYC Council Apr. 29th hearing

Just found this online. Its the full text of the testimony of the NYC Department of Health and Hygiene that was given to the NYC Council during their April 29th special emergency hearing on PCBs in NYC schools.

NYC Council introduces PCB legislation

Though it has not been posted online yet, I saw a print copy of legislation that has been introduced by the New York City Council that calls for full PCB testing of all NYC schools built or renovated before 1978. Good first step and I encourage you to contact your council member to support this legislation and continue with efforts to rid our schools of PCBs.

Congressional legislation aims to protect children from unsafe chemicals

The Kid Safe Chemical Act was introduced earlier this week in Congress to put the responsibility on chemical companies to test and prove that chemicals are safe before they can be allowed to be used in every day products. Good stuff. Anyone who cares about the safety of our children should contact their Congressman or Senator to encourage them to support this bill.

Dangerous chemicals are in your baby's crib and car seats

Wow! Is the chemical industry just not testing anything they put in products to see how potentially harmful they can be? Here's a blog post on CNET about a new report detailing how various harmful chemicals are in products specifically made for children.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Manhattan School Gets Federal EPA involved

PS 199 in Manhattan has taken the step of writing a letter to the federal EPA signed by a number of local and nationally elected officials to get action on the issue of PCBs in their school. Here are some related news articles:


Daily News

New York Sun

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NYTimes blog: Report Faults City on ‘Potentially Toxic’ School Sites

Just when you thought all we had to deal with were PCBs...
Here's another thing parents, teachers and students need to worry about...potentially toxic schools housed in leased buildings which are subject to much less stringent environmental oversight (though obviously not stringent enough since we now know many schools have PCBs) than buildings owned by the city.

Staten Island school gets 3rd PCB test

This was a few days ago but thought it was interesting to note that because of pressure from the school community a 3rd test was taken at this school in Staten Island. It however was not a test of the caulk, just the air. Testing the air, dust and soil is a good first step but if any of them have elevated levels of PCBs the next step should be to test the caulk itself.

NYC Dept. of Health official waffling on PCBs health effects

Here’s some interesting info. As I have mentioned in other postings on this blog, back in 2005 a parent at a school in Yorktown Heights, New York took it upon himself to have caulking tested which then eventually led to the full testing and removal of all PCB contaminated caulking. Here is a letter from the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit applauding that parent’s efforts. Below is an excerpt from this letter.

“PCBs in the French Hill Elementary School can represent a risk for the students who spend from 35 to 50 hours per week in and around the facility. Decreasing exposure will help protect the children from potential health effects now and in the future. Removing window caulking known to contain PCBs in the school will remove the source.

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit applauds your work in protecting the children of French Hill Elementary School from exposure to PCBs. We also continue to follow and support you in your effort to decrease exposure to PCBs at other sites.”

Note that one of the signatories to this letter is a Dr. Nathan Graber. He now works at the New York City Department of Health and is the one making the rounds at different schools trying to assure parents and teachers that there is no significant risk at any of the schools that have tested positive for PCBs. I have my own opinions but I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to come to your own conclusions.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

City tries to reassure Staten Island school community about PCBs

New York city officials tried to reassure parents and others that there were low or no detectable levels of PCBs in a Staten Island school even though a parent's child, who has asthma, had his asthma filter tested finding high levels of PCBs. As I keep saying, until and unless city officials take decisive steps to fully test and then remove contaminated caulking instances like this one are only going to increase.

Staten Island Parents and Students Protest Over PCBs at School

This is the first instance I have heard of people protesting and in sizable numbers over PCBs found in New York City schools since this story broke a few weeks ago. I expect more to come if the city does not take quick and decisive action to address parents, teachers and students concerns.

NY Daily News: Parent tests turn up toxic PCBs at 'clean' public schools

Looks like parents are starting to take things into their own hands and having independent testing done. This one had findings that contradict what the city found.

"Parent tests turn up toxic PCBs at 'clean' public schools"

NY1 story on PCBs and BPAs

Here's a NY1 article on the recent NYC Council meeting on PCBs and also discusses the recent issue of BPAs, chemicals found in many plastic bottles, including baby bottles, which are also hazardous to our health, especially children.

EPA convention to focus on hazardous waste cleanup

The US Environmental Protection Agency is hosting an event to discuss hazardous waste cleanup including PCBs. Glad this is being seriously looked into at the national level.