"NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New York City announced a pilot program Tuesday to address the problem of potentially hazardous PCBs in construction materials in some city schools.
PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are chemicals that were widely used in caulk and other building materials until they were banned in the late 1970s.
The EPA says hundreds of school buildings across the country have caulk around windows and doors containing PCBs. The danger to students is uncertain, but the agency is telling schools that they should test old caulk and remove it if PCBs turn up in significant amounts.
Under the agreement announced Tuesday, New York City will pick five public schools - one in each borough - to monitor for PCB-contaminated caulk. If the caulk is found to contain PCBs, the city will come up with a plan for removing it or covering it up to limit exposure. The goal is to develop a citywide protocol for minimizing the risks of PCB-contaminated caulk that can serve as a model for school systems across the country. "