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Toxic PCBs Found In Bushwick School

U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyPoliticsEducationBushwickEnvironmental PoliticsFort Greene

At Public School 45 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the latest Environmental Protection Agency tests show the highest levels of leaking PCB’s since they started a round of testing in city schools this year.

The test at PS 45 found up to 660 thousand parts per million, that's more than 10 times above the allowable limit. 19 samples were taken from lighting fixtures in eleven classrooms at Brooklyn's PS 45. All of the samples taken showed results above the limit.

EPA says the likely cause was that capacitors in many of the lighting fixtures had burned out and completely failed. 

The EPA is randomly testing schools right now in New York City looking closely at old light fixtures where PCB's are often found. PIX 11 first told you last month about PS 11 in Fort Greene testing positive for PCB's, then we told you about PS 13. Now it’s PS 45.

PCB's were banned by Congress in 1978 but that was long after many New York City schools were built back in the 1950's. Back then engineers were unaware of the dangers.

Experts say PCB's are associated with permanently depressed IQ, with disruption of immune function and with disfunction of normal hormonal development.

New York City’s Department of Education is taking immediate corrective action by replacing light 'ballasts' and/or light fixtures where necessary. The EPA says there's no immediate health risk for students and staff at these buildings, however, EPA is calling for a citywide system to replace the fixtures.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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