December 13, 2012
Dear School Community:
New York City has undertaken a comprehensive plan to replace fluorescent lighting fixtures containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in public schools. PCBs were used in buildings across the country between 1950 and 1978. I am sending this letter to inform you that our school building has been identified as having lighting fixtures which are likely to contain PCBs and will therefore be replaced. This work will take place outside of school hours, to minimize disruption to students and staff, and will increase the energy efficiency and environmental quality of school buildings.
The City has prioritized buildings for lighting replacement in the following order:
Priority 1: Buildings with leaking lighting fixtures identified through an ongoing visual inspection program
Priority 2: Buildings constructed between 1950 and 1966 with at least one elementary school
Priority 3: Buildings constructed between 1950 and 1966 with secondary schools
Priority 4: Buildings constructed between 1967 and 1979 with at least one elementary school
Priority 5: Buildings constructed between 1967 and 1979 with secondary schools
Priority 6: Buildings constructed prior to 1950 with at least one elementary school
Priority 7: Buildings constructed prior to 1950 with secondary schools
chools constructed in the 1950s and early 1960s are being targeted first because the lighting fixtures in these buildings are of an older type of design more likely to leak. The focus on Pre-Kindergarten and elementary schools is based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidance which advocates lower PCB exposures for younger children.
Based on these criteria, our building has been categorized as a Priority 6. Fixture replacement for buildings in this category is estimated to begin in fiscal year 2017 and end in fiscal year 2021. Fiscal years are numbered based on the end of the school year (i.e., FY 2013 is the school year that ends June 2013). A project schedule will be provided prior to the commencement of work at our school.
It is important to recognize the position of the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) that there is no immediate health concern and that health effects from long-term exposure to the air in school buildings are unlikely to occur at the PCB levels seen in City schools.
The DOE is actively working to address this issue and will keep us apprised as work progresses in our building. You may visit the DOE’s website to view regularly updated lists of buildings where work is currently underway or has been completed, as well as additional information related to the Department’s plan: http://www.nycsca.org/Community/Programs/EPA-NYC-PCB/Pages/default.aspx (in English only).
School News >