Borough President Stringer joined a group of elected officials today to demand that the City immediately begin to remove toxic lighting ballasts from local public schools.
Mayor Bloomberg has approved a plan to remove lighting ballasts or fixtures with PCB, a highly toxic chemical, from 772 city public schools over a 10-year period, according to a Wall Street Journal report. But BP Stringer and his colleagues today said that a 10-year plan will not address these issues soon enough.
“We can no longer delay action on the threats posed to our children by PCB contamination in New York City’s public schools,” BP Stringer said. “This is not a luxury budget item we’re talking about: this is about the health and safety of schoolchildren.”
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, of the 67th assembly district in Manhattan, joined BP Stringer on the steps of City Hall. Rosenthal is the sponsor of New York State Assembly bill A. 5374, which would require the City and the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to undertake a city-wide lighting ballast and fixture replacement program.
“It’s high time that the City acknowledged the problem, but our schoolchildren cannot wait 10 years,” Assemblymember Rosenthal said. “The health and safety of our children is too precious, and that’s precisely why my bill calls for the City to replace all ballasts within three to five years.”
“I want to commend Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal for her leadership and commitment on this issue, which has such an impact on the well-being of our students,” Stringer said. “The message to DOE should be loud and clear: Enough is enough. It’s time for action—and cooperation.”
Rosenthal’s bill, A.5374, has 42 co-sponsors in the Assembly, and lays out a replacement regimen that could be completed in as little as three years. The program would target replacing ballasts and fixtures which were installed between 1950 and 1978, when PCB was used for its high tolerance to heat. Since then, however, scientists have discovered that the chemical may cause significant health problems for children who are exposed to high levels. Some of these problems include issues with weight, short-term memory, learning, and possibly cancer.
Read more about how BP Stringer is fighting to remove PCBs from New York City schools in:
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