December 7, 2011
Nine months after the city announced a 10-year plan to find and remove fluorescent light fixtures in schools that may contain hazardous chemicals, the city’s School Construction Authority has released a list of 754 school buildings that have been flagged for follow-up.
The list is the product of a survey of buildings the city completed last year, but it has never before been released, according to a legal group that has been pushing for faster cleanup. The document was released last month, shortly after NYLPI filed a Freedom of Information Law request. That request yielded a more complete accounting of schools with suspect lights, which NYPLI has published on its website.
The chemicals in question, referred to as polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, were present inside of some florescent lights installed in schools before 1979, when the federal government banned their use.
City officials have said the lights pose no immediate health risk to students. But many elected officials and public health advocates charge that the department is not moving quickly enough to remove the chemicals.
On Monday, the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest will hold a press conference at City Hall, as it has done several times in the past year, calling for the DOE to immediately remove all potentially dangerous light fixtures from its buildings.