Mayor approves $708M plan to remove PCBs

February 23, 2011 12:37PM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has approved a $708 million plan to replace potentially harmful fluorescent light fixtures in all city public schools. The aging lighting fixtures at 772 public school buildings will be replaced, due to concerns about leaking polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and the project will be paid for by the city, a Department of Education official told NY1. The plan comes after a months-long standoff over the lights with the Environmental Protection Agency, which says PCBs could cause long-term health threats to children and staff. Today, parents and teachers were planning to rally against the city’s inaction regarding the PCBs. While the schools will remain open as the fixtures are changed, city officials say students’ health will not be affected. “Parents should be informed, but there’s no reason to not send their children to school at this time,” Brooklyn Council member Erik Dilan said. The latest inspection for PCBs turned up the highest levels yet of the toxins in P.S. 45 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where the DOE says it has since replaced the fixtures. Six schools have tested positive this year. [NY1]