MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Older Vermont schools are going to be tested starting this spring for the presence of a harmful group of chemicals commonly used in building materials and electrical equipment before 1980, state officials said.
If levels of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs are detected at or above school action levels, the schools will be required to reduce potential exposure, the state said Wednesday.
Numerous studies in both animals and humans have shown that exposure to PCBs can affect the nervous, immune, reproductive and endocrine systems.
“The effects of PCB exposure may not be immediate, but they can be serious,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said in a statement. “This statewide program will inform the actions needed to protect the health of our children and the health of the teachers and staff in our schools.”
The PCB testing program is part of a law passed by the Legislature last year. It requires every school constructed or renovated before 1980 to test their indoor air for PCBs by July 1, 2024.
The legislation gives the Department of Environmental Conservation authority to require action when PCBs are found at or above school action levels, officials said.
Once testing is underway, schools will be notified of the results, which will be posted online.