Baron and Budd, a national law firm with deep experience in environmental litigation, announced today that it is offering free PCB testing to schools built between 1950 and 1980. Currently, testing for PCBs in schools is not a requirement, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified PCBs as probable human carcinogens that can have potentially serious toxic effects on a person’s immune system, endocrine system, nervous system and reproductive system, especially in developing school children.
“It may be hard to believe that children could be exposed to a dangerous chemical at school every day, but that may be the case”
Supermodel Cindy Crawford was recently interviewed on The Today Show about her decision to pull her children out of a California high school after elevated levels of PCBs were detected in the school. Crawford says she does not feel safe sending her children to school while PCBs remain in place. She and other parents want federal regulators to require all schools buildings constructed between 1950 and the late 1970s to be tested for PCBs.
Monsanto is the only known U.S. manufacturer of PCBs.
“It may be hard to believe that children could be exposed to a dangerous chemical at school every day, but that may be the case,” said Scott Summy, shareholder at the law firm of Baron and Budd. “The worst part is that Monsanto knew that PCBs could be dangerous. Removal is expensive, and Monsanto should be footing the bill. Our firm stands ready to help schools by offering free testing. We understand that schools, not just kids, are victims here.”
PCBs, also known as polychlorinated biphenyls, are man-made chemicals that were commonly used in various construction materials from the early 1950s through the late 1970s, when the chemical was banned. During those two decades PCB-contaminated materials were used in the construction of numerous commercial buildings, such as schools. The primary use was light ballasts and window and door caulking. Adding to the danger, PCBs can migrate out of their original location and into adjoining walls, flooring, masonry and soil. The chemical can also be released into the air where it poses a serious hazard.
Scott Summy and his environmental team at Baron and Budd specialize in representing public entities, including schools, in environmental litigation designed to assist public entities in recovering the costs of remediation to make both facilities and water safe for the public.
The team has assisted public entities in recovering over a billion dollars in environmental cases. Earlier this year, Summy filed a lawsuit against Monsanto and its corporate successors on behalf of the Town of Westport and Westport Community Schools in Massachusetts after testing detected elevated levels of PCBs in local schools. The goal of this lawsuit is to force Monsanto to pay for the proper removal of the PCBs.
Summy has an established history of leading significant and meaningful litigation to protect public health and the environment. Summy was a lead negotiator in a $420 million settlement with many of the nation’s leading oil companies involving the cleanup of MTBE-contaminated water. Summy also served as class counsel in a settlement on behalf of more than 1,000 community water systems in the atrazine water contamination litigation.