Advocacy is a necessary and important part of ensuring a healthy learning environment for our children. The government agencies overseeing our schools are tainted by politics, bound by outdated science and captured by interests that do not align with ours. The EPA, who is tasked with enforcing the law has pushed their duty aside in fear of political backlash. They have created guidance in conflict with the law in an attempt to teach school districts how to evade the regulation.
Rather than enforce the law in regards to PCBs, the EPA wants to engage in a risk approach to PCBs exposure in schools yet fails to have any scientific studies on inhalation of PCBs and dose response, especially in children who’s body and brains are developing. EPA relies on acceptable risk range from a 1 in 1 million cancer risk all the way down to a 1 in 10,000 cancer risk, an unacceptable risk to parents. Yet even as the scientific community continues to find new evidence linking low levels of PCBs to health risks, the EPA has not updated their data since the 1990’s. So how can we, over 20 years later, trust them to be protective enough for our children when they are willing to allow exposure at a 1 in 10,000 cancer risk?
What we have seen from EPA Region 9 (R9) has been quite disheartening? We strongly believe that R9 has acted outside its enforcement of TSCA, been inconsistent with its application of Federal regulation and caved to special interests looking to manipulate interpretation of Federal law.
When it comes to protecting our children we must use precautionary principals. Science is ever-changing and what we know today will surely be recognized tomorrow as “not safe enough.” We must rely on the most up-to-date advanced research from unbiased scientists with no corporate ties, when making health-based decisions for our children, teachers, and community.
“Acceptable levels” are protective of our children, not just for today but for 10 years from now. Only then can we rest assure that our schools are operating at the highest standards of health and safety.