From the Gotham Gazette:
The heat is on the Department of Education this summer, after environmental tests at a Bronx elementary school revealed yet another case of contamination.
Just five weeks before the start of the new school year, parents at PS 51X, known as the Bronx New School, received surprising news from the Department of Education. In a letter dated Aug. 5, the department announced that it was closing the current building and moving the school to an undisclosed location. Air quality tests had revealed unsafe levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial solvent. Although the New York state Department of Health stated that there were "no immediate medical concerns for students and staff," the city determined that adequate remediation could not be completed before the school starts in September.
The city leased the Bedford Park property, a former industrial site, in 1991. For two decades, it has operated as a school; but some parents now say that their children have complained of chronic headaches.
PS51X now joins a growing list of schools across the city that may be toxic. Under current law, the city can lease property and open a school on it without notifying community members, or making public any concerns about environmental hazards in the area. With approximately 96 schools throughout the city on leased properties and more in the pipeline, this could affect tens of thousands of children.