Toxic PCBs linger in schools; EPA, lawmakers fail to act

An elementary school teacher in Australia's Queensland state who passed out in class while intoxicated has been banned from teaching for two years. CREDIT: Jasmin Merdan/Moment RF/Getty Images

MONROE, Wash. – Thousands of U.S. schools still aren’t being tested for PCBs, which were banned 40 years ago over concerns they could cause cancer.

The EPA does not require _ or encourage _ schools to test for the chemicals. They have been found in building materials such as caulk, ceiling tiles and paint, as well as fluorescent light ballasts in schools built before 1980.

The EPA advises schools to clean and ventilate well. But without testing, there is no way to know if those measures are protecting children.

Members of Congress who promised to help schools address PCBs and other pollutants never introduced legislation. And a proposed EPA rule requiring schools and day cares to remove PCB-containing ballasts was quashed by

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