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Letter to the Editor: Malibu Parents for Healthy Schools supports Malibu Unites
Malibu Parents for Healthy Schools, a citizen’s group formed in October 2013 after the public became aware of toxic soil removal on the Malibu High Campus two years earlier, is joining the new non-profit Malibu Unites.
The environmental issues at Malibu public schools date back to 2010, when toxins were found in the soil on the Malibu High School Campus. The discovery resulted from an environmental study ordered by the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District as part of the proposed remodel of the Malibu campus. The environmental study revealed that pesticides, PCBs, benzene and toluene were present in soil in the Quad at concentrations of up to 11 times the California recommended limits. During the summer of 2011, unbeknownst to parents and teachers, 48 truckloads of contaminated soil were removed while summer school was in session. Following the soil removal, four Malibu High School teachers were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, a disease with an expected annual incidence of less than two per 10,000 Americans.
We formed Malibu Parents for Healthy Schools shortly after learning of these events, and hired an environmental expert who recommended immediate testing of the classrooms for PCBs. The District did test some of the classrooms for PCBs, and 5 of 10 tested middle school classrooms had PCBs levels exceeding Federal regulatory limits. As a result, Malibu High now requires remediation under EPA oversight. The three classrooms with the highest PCBs levels are those used by three of the teachers with thyroid cancer.
We know we cannot do this alone. So we have now joined Malibu Unites and their impressive and rapidly growing list of supporters to continue in our effort to make our schools environmentally safe.
Ken Miller and Len Simonian, Malibu residents