Teachers, parents and elected officials joined forces Wednesday after recent tests found high levels of PCB toxins in some city public schools.
The group, along with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, gathered in front of the Department of Education building where they called on school officials to take immediate action to remove the chemicals.
A pilot study between the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found elevated levels of the chemicals in three schools.
The testing found PCBs in caulking and lighting fixtures in PS 199 in Manhattan, PS 178 in the Bronx, and PS 309 in Brooklyn.
Activists say they want the DOE to not only address the toxins already found, but also speed up testing in the rest of the city's schools.
"We want them to start addressing the issue of all the schools that may be potentially contaminated. We need them to start doing tests as quickly as possible. Based on what they found in the pilot study so far, they should start moving to include more schools, not just the three schools this year," said Gigi Gazone of the group New York Lawyers For The Public Interest.
"This will be costly, but I don't think you can put a price on the health and future of our children and anyone who says they'll be fine, I want to see the test results first," said State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.
One school in Queens and another on Staten Island will be tested next year.
The mayor says the city is working with the EPA, but that it will be a long and expensive process.