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New York City Schools Pressured to Remove Light Fixtures Contaminated with PCBs

EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides quality testing services for carcinogenic PCBs


In New York City, 754 schools have fluorescent lights that are likely to contain polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, claims the city’s School Construction Authority. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PCBs are a group of man-made chemicals that can cause cancer and other adverse effects in the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system. New research indicates that prenatal exposure to the chemicals can lead to low birth weight, stunted growth, asthma, immune weakness, Attention Deficit Disorder, memory problems, and decreased IQ.
Fluorescent light ballasts that were manufactured before the 1979 ban on PCBs leak the toxic chemicals into the air, which students and staff then breathe.
The EPA recommends that all of the lights in New York City schools be replaced within 5 years, but the city administration claims that it will take 10 years to remove all of the lights, reports the Huffington Post. Many New Yorkers believe that a decade is an unacceptably long timeframe for the removal of chemicals known to be hazardous. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest filed a lawsuit to challenge the lengthy process on behalf of the New York Communities for Change, a coalition of families from low- to moderate-income communities.
“Recent studies done by the EPA suggest that old fluorescent light ballasts leaking PCBs are a widespread problem and pose significant health risks in schools across the country,” states Joseph Frasca, Senior VP at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “EMSL has decades of experience providing quality testing services for PCBs and has helped many schools begin the removal process.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please see our website for a complete listing of accreditations.


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