From the Daily News:
The Environmental Protection Agency released new guidelines for schools grappling with older light fixtures contaminated by a cancer-causing toxin.
The recommendations announced Thursday are for schools handling and removing lights laden with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
The action comes on the heels of a Bronx mom's 2009 lawsuit against the city Department of Education over the cleanup of high PCB levels in her children's Co-op City school.
Steve Owens, EPA's assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, said in a statement that as the EPA learned more about PCB risks in older buildings, it would work closely with schools to make sure they were safe.
The EPA wants the city to remove the lights in about 800 schools in an "expedited time frame," but the city says the lights pose no immediate health risks and removing them would cost more than $1 billion.
The EPA is set to begin testing city classrooms for PCB contamination next month.
In 1979, the EPA banned PCBs, which were used in electrical resistors to control lights and have been linked to cancer, birth defects and learning difficulties.
City Education officials declined to comment yesterday, but a letter sent to the EPA by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott last week scolded the agency for singling out the city, when buildings across the country contain PCB-contaminated lights.