Monsanto has history with a controversial and dangerous class of chemicals known as PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, and now they are being found in schools all over the nation.
A new study from from scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that up to 14 million students in 26,000 schools in the U.S. could be exposed to unsafe levels of the highly toxic chemicals even though they were banned several decades ago.
PCBs were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979 due to its link with birth defects and center in laboratory animals. PCBs can have adverse skin and liver effects in humans and can also linger in the environment for many decades.
According to the study:
“Decades after the PCB ban, people are still being exposed to these toxic chemicals from various sources, such as caulk, some oil-based paints, and floor finish in buildings constructed between 1950 and 1979; leaking fluorescent light ballast; old electrical equipment; and PCB-containing landfills. Most worrisome are PCB exposures for children in schools built or retrofitted during the period that PCB-containing materials were widely used. Up to 14 million students nationwide, representing nearly 30 percent of the school-aged population, may be exposed to PCBs in their schools, based on the estimated number of schools built during that time and how much PCB-containing material was used in these schools. A 2016 Harvard School of Public Health study estimates that between 12,960 and 25,920 schools have PCB-containing caulk.”
Right now schools do not test for PCB hazards and are not required to do so. If they do test and find contamination they are not required to report it to the EPA.
It is time for this to change. The EPA needs to “survey school systems nationwide and update its records to better assess the scope of potential PCB hazards in schools as well as eliminating the source of PCB exposure from our nation’s schools.”