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Parents, City Officials Call For Quick Action Following Second PCB Leak Incident At School

Parent: 'You Screwed Them Up There, You Take Them Down'
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer speaks out against PCBs at I.S. 204 in Long Island City Sept. 25, 2012 (credit: Jimmy Van Bramer press office)

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer speaks out against PCBs at I.S. 204 in Long Island City Sept. 25, 2012 (credit: Jimmy Van Bramer press office)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Parents and elected officials held a rally at I.S. 204 in Long Island City Tuesday to demand the New York City Department of Education move quicker in replacing light fixtures containing the toxic chemical known as PCBs.

The Department of Education has said they are moving as fast as possible to change out the lights. Officials said hundreds of schools need to be looked at and added most of the light bulb swaps have been taking place on weekends to minimize the impact on learning.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

“If it were your child who was sitting at her desk and she was sitting under a ticking time bomb, would you wait ten years?” said City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer.

In an incident last week, PCBs leaked from a light fixture onto a guidance counselor’s desk at I.S. 204.

This was at least the second such incident of the toxic chemical dripping out of the light fixture and onto the surface below.

On the first day of classes this school year, PCBs leaked out of a light fixture and onto a 10-year-old girl’s desk and clothes at P.S. 41 in the New Dorp section of Staten Island.

Parents of students at I.S 204 said the DOE should move as quickly as possible to replace the toxic light fixtures.

“It only takes a week to take lights down. You screwed them up there, you take them down – simple. Put new lights up there,” parent Yolanda Williams told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.

In a statement, the Department of Education said new fixtures will be ordered soon but cautioned that it could take up to two months before work begins to replace the light fixtures.

“Give me a break, Mr. Bloomberg, and clean it out of the schools,” Williams told Schuck. “Stop worrying about sodas. What, he’s going to get rid of all the sodas next? Get rid of the PCBs. It’s more toxic, it’s more dangerous.”

The DOE also directly addressed complaints from some that the upgrade should be done quicker and at any cost, saying the department’s plan is environmentally responsible and will wind up being cost-effective in the long run.

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