Older New England Schools Have Toxic Caulking

September 9, 2009

Federal environmental officials say students and staff at hundreds of older schools in New England and other parts of the country may face potential health risks because of toxic caulking in windows and masonry.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will soon release guidelines to school officials and owners of other buildings on what to do about the problem.

The agency says some caulk used in the 1960s and 1970s contains polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which were banned in the late 1970s because of potential cancer risks. Officials say PCBs from deteriorating caulk can end up in the air.

The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is recommending that schools test their caulking and replace it if it is deteriorating.

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