Updated 02/14/2011 11:25 PM
East Harlem Schools Test Positive For PCBs
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The Environmental Protection Agency says an East Harlem building that houses three city schools has tested positive for PCBs.
The agency says 12 of the 14 samples taken from lighting ballasts at 508 East 120th Street were above the regulatory limit of 50 parts per million.
The building currently houses PS 206, PS 37 and PS 112.
Parents and teachers say they are shocked because the school did not tell them the EPA discovered the PCBs, which have been linked to cancer.
"It's their safety and the staff that's in there too. It's not just the children. Everyone that's in the building is at risk so I would think people should voice their opinion to get something done," said Parent Tyra King.
"Was it already tested a second time, to make sure it was at acceptable level? I don't know. I never knew the problem in the first place. This is the first I'm hearing of it so I'm hoping the school did the right thing, did the tests, fixed it, corrected it and now the problem is good to go," said Parent Decarlo Stroud.
The EPA says federal law requires immediate removal of the lighting ballasts.
However, the Department of Education says the EPA and city Department of Health indicate there is no immediate health risk for students and staff at the buildings.
The DOE also says it took corrective action during the same weekend as the EPA inspection by replacing ballasts as necessary.
The EPA has been checking one city school per week for traces of PCBs. For the past five weeks, a city school has tested positive.