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Activists Want Quicker Removal Of PCBs From School Lighting Fixtures In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Activists have filed a lawsuit demanding that New York City move faster to remove lighting fixtures tainted with the toxic chemicals known as PCBs from hundreds of public schools.

City officials announced a 10-year plan in February to replace the aging fluorescent lights. The lighting fixtures can leak PCBs over time.

The federal lawsuit was filed Wednesday by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest on behalf of a parents’ group. Miranda Massie, a lawyer with the group, told The Wall Street Journal that the work could be done in about two years.

Department of Education spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said the 10-year plan is responsible and will cause minimum disruption.

PCBs are suspected of causing cancer and other diseases.

Has NYC ignored PCBs for too long? Is this too little, too late? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • danny

    This group that wants it removed in 2 years fails to understand the excessive cost this operation would be. You need to figure it would have to be done after school hours, thus entailing 2nd shift rates or overtime. Look up prevailing wage rates to see how much the workers get paid per hour. If the ballast is not leaking, the PCB’s are not exposed and not harmful. To rush it, in this fragile economy, would leave a gaping hole in the Dept. of Ed’s budget. Which means less teachers.

  • georgedunne

    This is a sham. The PCB’s are contained in a sealed metal enclosure known as a ballast. The ballast is in the lighting fixture which acts like a bowl to hide the wires that connect to it. This device does not leak. There is a greater danger if the fluorescent light bulb breaks, and releases toxic dust. If I had the contract to replace the old ballasts, I definitely would be exaggerating the toxicity.

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