Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Special Meeting on PCB Levels at Malibu High School

 


A special meeting was held Thursday night at Malibu City Hall, to address the community’s concerns about PCB contamination at Malibu High School. Recently, the faculty, students and their parents learned that soil samples from the school property showed PCB levels some 37 times the level required to trigger Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) involvement. Tonight, a special meeting will be held to discuss that environmental report and ongoing health issues.

Speakers at the meeting included

- Steve Armann, PCB Program Coordinator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9

- Patrick Wilson, Ph. D., Senior Regional Toxicologist, EPA, Region 9

- Tom Cota, Branch Chief, School Evaluation & Brownfield Outreach, Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC)

- Angelo Bellomo, Director, Environmental Health, Los Angeles Department of Public Health (DPH)

Raw test data is posted on the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District’s website. The data is from testing at Malibu High School. This is the school where a cluster of illnesses suddenly occurred involving teachers and students involving cancers, headaches, rashes and even sudden unexplained hair loss.

The test results have started to come back and, in some of the samples, amounts of such things as PCB’s are much higher than the amounts that would trigger EPA involvement. So, in comes the EPA and other public health organizations for a big meeting next Thursday night at Malibu City Hall to discuss the results. The district’s superintendent says these numbers need “context” and they’re not as bad as they may sound. Just “slightly higher” she says.

“Well, I’m just shocked and concerned” says parent Michele Rede. Another parent, Boaz Brizman says “We’re talking about children.

Young children.” This, while Desi Bradley says “I remain cautiously optimistic.”

The raw data from is from tests of such things as caulk and paint in old buildings in the middle school quad at Malibu high school…

Says Brizman, “Actually, me, my wife and other parents have considered home schooling until this issue is resolved. We obviously don’t want to expose our children to levels that aren’t safe.”

A lot of parents I spoke with as they were picking up their kids from school were concerned. They were also glad the district is moving forward with the investigation although to Brizman it’s not fast enough.

The EPA, in it’s letter to the district, has deemed the rooms safe, but what do all of the numbers mean? The first public meeting to discuss them is planned for next Thursday. Representatives from the EPA, the State Department of Toxic Substance Control and The LA County Department of Public Health are expected to be on hand.

School superintendent Ms Lyons says “I know that members of our school community are anxious and II k now that those diagnosed with serious medical conditions are distressed and concerned. Our best wishes go out to those distressed persons.”

 

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