PCBs, Asbestos Discovered at Connecticut School

The discovery of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/PCBs_health_concerns">polychlorinated biphenyls—PCBs—and asbestos at Gideon Welles School in Glastonbury, Connecticut, could finally result in the replacement of some older, inefficient windows. According to CT.com, the old windows have long been an issue, but the Board of Education has continually shelved plans to replace them.

During its meeting Monday, the board was told that the PCBs and asbestos are making the issue of window replacement priority; the board unanimously approved the capital improvements projects, bringing it to the number two spot on the list, said CT Now.

According to town and school officials and an environmental firm testing the windows, while PCBs have leached into the building’s masonry and the surrounding window frames, PCBs are not a safety concern, because tests indicate levels at less than minimum exposures set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wrote CT Now.

Asbestos has been found in the window’s glazing, caulking, and around the frames, said Schwind, who noted that the windows are old and that PCBs had also leached into the building’s masonry, added CT Now. The board was told the material “is manageable,” and poses no risk to staff or students.

Despite this, the window project budget was elevated from $810,000 to $1.67 million, with the potential for a $360,000 state reimbursement for the project that should take two summers to complete, explained CT News.

Board chairman Richard C. Brown said, “There are no safety issues… The reason the project is on the list, is the windows are very energy inefficient and that affects student learning.”

PCBs are significantly problematic because they do not easily degrade and do bioaccumulate infiltrating plants, crops, fish, and small organisms, ultimately reaching those who eat these products. Because of this, nearly every human being on the planet carries some PCB in his/her body, which can also be passed from mothers to children during pregnancy and in breast milk.

PCBs can remain in our bodies for many years; the longer we live, the more these toxins build in our systems, increasing in strength over time.

PCBs include about 200 compounds and are a class of very toxic chemicals ubiquitously found in construction materials and electrical products in many buildings built from the 1950s until 1978, when they were phased out. PCBs were also used in electrical transformers and capacitors. Although banned, PCBs were an element in school construction and electrical products during this time.

In addition to being a skin irritant, PCBs have been linked to some cancers, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects to the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system, notes the EPA on its website.

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