Another PCB Leak Reported in NYC Classroom

A custodian at Intermediate School 204 in Long Island City, Queens discovered PCBs leaking from a light Monday

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    Another case of PCBs leaking from an overhead light in a New York City classroom was reported this week, this time in Queens.

    A custodian at Intermediate School 204 in Long Island City discovered substance leaking from a light in a counselor's office Monday, the Daily News reports.

    PCB Leaks on 5th Grader in NYC Classroom

    [NY] PCB Leaks on 5th Grader in NYC Classroom
    A fifth-grader on Staten Island was exposed to a polychlorinated biphenyl-laced chemical that has been leaking from aging light fixtures in some New York City classrooms, officials said. News 4's Pei-Sze Cheng talked to that student and her concerned father. (Published Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012)

    No one was in the room, and the light was removed that day.

    It was the second case of leaking PCB chemicals discovered in a New York City public school in a week. Last Friday, a brown liquid dripped on a fifth-grader in her Staten Island classroom on the first day of school. It was later confirmed to contain PCBs. 

    The teacher at PS 41 reacted quickly in that case, immediately removing students from the classroom and having the student checked out by the nurse and poison control. The girl was cleared of immediate danger, and the Department of Education replaced the light fixture immediately.

    It wasn't clear if the rest of the lights in the school would be replaced.

    In the case of IS 204, officials could not promise an immediate replacement of its overhead fixtures, despite the recent leak. In a letter sent home to parents Thursday, the school said the rest of the lights will be retrofitted "at some point during the next nine years," according to the Daily News. 

    PCBs leaking from old lights at New York City schools were identified as a problem last year. Mayor Bloomberg committed $708 million to swapping out the lights at 772 schools over the next 10 years. 

    Exposure to PCBs can cause cancer and potential risks to the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.

    Activists have complained the city was not moving quickly enough to replace the lighting fixtures. The group New York Lawyers for the Public Interest filed a lawsuit in July 2011 demanding that the city move faster to replace the PCB-tainted lighting fixtures.