From the Queens Chronicle:
...Naomi Gonzalez, a Bronx mother of two, has instilled in her 7-year-old daughter advice that may seem unorthodox at first.
“I don’t let her drink the water in school, and she knows to ask not to sit by the window,” Gonzalez said.
Her daughter’s school, P.S. 178, is one of 85 citywide public schools — 20 of which are in Queens — where the Department of Education found traces of toxic PCB-contaminated caulk on classroom windows last year. Gonzalez, along with parents in the Bronx and Manhattan, has filed a lawsuit against the DOE and School Construction Authority. And, with the help of attorneys from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, parents from Queens may not be far behind.
“These are really, really, really bad compounds,” said Miranda Massie, a lawyer at NYLPI. “There’s no doubt that other schools that haven’t been tested have been affected.”
Before the 1970s, PCBs, which stands for polychlorinated biphenyls, were added to the caulking material used to cushion window and door frames to make them more elastic, according to the NYLPI. Although they were banned in 1979, products that may still contain the compound include electrical equipment, oil-based paints, floor finishes and caulking — which has recently been found in abundance on many school windows.
PCBs volatize into air and don’t stay in place, Massie said, affecting the quality of air students breathe, as well as the soil around a facility.
“Even if they replace the windows, that doesn’t do it,” she said. “You need a complete clean up.”