New Reports Discover PCB’s in Schools Today – What you need to know
When we send our children off to school, we are ensured that they are in a safe, positive environment. Unfortunately, new research is unveiling that school could be exposing our children to toxic chemicals, Polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCB’s. Widespread use of these chemicals in buildings started in the 1920’s and continued until they were banned by Congress in 1979. Originally they were chosen to be used in various commercial processes and products like caulk and florescent lighting because they were not very flammable and could withstand high temperatures.
Background on the Issue
In the Toxic Substances Control Act, TSCA, of 1976 PCB’s were found no longer suitable for manufacturing, processing or distribution. This ban, however, did not go into effect until 1979. Following the ban, Congress ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor the disposal of the chemicals and keep track of any remaining PCB’s by keeping records, with reporting, testing and any other restrictions. In 1995 the Government Accountability Office reported finding PCB’s s in many (mostly inner-city) schools and that $112 billion would be needed to repair or upgrade facilities. According to a report taken in 2000 from the National Education Association found that it would take $332 billion to fix and upgrade the nation’s schools.
What Matters Now
Fast forward today when many studies continue to find PCB’s in of schools nationwide. Shouldn’t something have been done to fix this issue by now? A study from the Harvard School of Public Health estimates 12,000 to 25,000 with an average amount of 550 children per school that could be affected every day. These chemicals are found mostly in older schools, in the electrical wiring, caulk, and fluorescent lights among other things. What is dangerous about having PCB’s in schools is that children are being exposed to them from the air, dust and even the soil. The primary exposure of PCB’s is through the inhalation, which makes testing the air in schools imperative. While there is a requirement to test for asbestos in schools, there are no clear requirements for the testing the air for PCB’s, which needs to change. Since this news was released there have been many protests for testing schools and replacing anything that could possibly be contaminated.
There Is Hope!
Many environmental activists, health professionals, and even celebrities are petitioning to order tests in all schools. While time will tell, the team at Airbiotics will continue to provide products
that work to purify the air and use good bacteria to promote good health indoors without any harsh chemicals, alcohol, or fragrances in schools, at home and in all indoor environments. There are some actions you can take to protect your child:
- Ask your child’s school if they’ve tested for PCB’s
- Reach out to your local representatives in Congress and let them know that you want the appropriate regulations put in place to ensure protection
- Check out the fact sheet put together by the EPA to make sure your child’s school is following the proper guidelines and best practices in order to decrease any exposure to PCB’s
We spend on average 90% of our lifetime indoors. That’s why Airbiotics’ strives to provide the safest and best choices for you and your family. For sources and to view the full report, The ABC’s of PCB’s: A Toxic Threat to America’s Schools click here