Thursday, November 1

NYC schools built on toxic sites

If you were paying attention to the news over the summer, you may have heard that Information Technology High School in Queens was constructed in an old warehouse on a toxic site. The DOE insisted that its tests showed the site is safe for students and teachers, but lawyers were seeking confirmation by independent scientists, and families were worried about their kids' safety.

Now Fox 5, which brought the InTech story to light, has put together a report about the "three most toxic school sites" in New York City. According to an independent environmental expert, Beacon High School on the Upper West Side, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics in East Harlem, and PS 156 in the Bronx are all sitting on top of potentially dangerous levels of various industrial chemicals. The DOE says all three sites are safe. Public advocates are pushing for legislation that would require the city to submit leased sites to public review -- the law already requires this of sites the city owns -- but the Bloomberg administration opposes such a regulation.

Update: We've heard that a retraction from Fox may be in the works about the Beacon site. From our source: "Fox won't do a retraction until the investigation is complete ... but the brownfield site was 2 blocks away and ... the EPA or whatever already gave the okey dokey" to the site. Beacon families, you can relax. No word on whether this is the case for the other schools in the original report.

Update 11/7: No retraction thus far from Fox 5 itself, but the expert quoted on the segment has issued a letter that says Beacon is safe. "There is no indication that any contamination resulting at the [nearby toxic site] is threatening the Beacon School due to the rigorous 'source-removal' clean up that was undertaken," the expert writes. Phew.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

It gives you a pretty good idea of what the Blomberg administration means when it says, "Children First."

It means after PR, money, sports stadiums and subsidizing needy billionaires, the needs of the children are paramount. As long as they don't open their mouths.

And it's probably best not to open your mouth when you're on a toxic waste site. That's why they don't build stadiums on them.