Employers in Any Field Have a Responsibility to Provide a Reasonably Safe Workplace
This usually includes preventing unnecessary toxic exposure. When employers show negligence in their duty, the exposed worker may suffer lost wages, medical expenses, permanent disability or even an untimely death. Without action to uncover contributing causes to a worker’s injury, this suffering may be experienced by many workers. An attorney with experience in workers’ compensation cases may be able to aid in the investigation and pursue wrongful death or injury claims against the negligent employer.
Expert to Community: ‘There Are No Safe Levels of PCB’
The attached Declarations from two Malibu High School teachers includes evidence from 33 other Malibu High School teachers that the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is not complying with their Best Management Practices (BMPs) and is in violation of the EPA Region 9’s guidelines.
See pdf copies of the Declarations from two Malibu High School Teachers:
See Video of Malibu High School Teacher’s Plea to the SMMUSD’s Board of Education for PCB-free Classrooms:
The attached declaration from Malibu High School Parent Matt DeNicola declares that former SMMUSD Board of Education member Ben Allen, now California State Senator Ben Allen admitted in September 2014 that the SMMUSD Board of Education chose not to test for PCBs, because they knew that they would find illegal levels of toxic PCBs and be forced to remove them under the TSCA. (See Matt DeNicola Declaration, pg. 1, paragraph 2)
See Declaration from Malibu High School Teacher Carla Bowman Smith declaring that Malibu High School’s condition is horrific, and is infested with rats, feces and urine:
“There is no safe level of PCBs. All they do is cause harm. They increase the risk of a great number of diseases, and the one that’s of most significance in a school is that they’re known to reduce cognitive function — learning and memory. And that’s the last thing you want in a school.” David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.
Declaration of renowned PCB Expert Dr. David Carpenter confirming that PCBs at Malibu High School greatly exceed legal limits under the TSCA, and inhalation of PCB vapors constitutes a continuous hazard to teachers and students:
See pdf copy of Dr. David Carpenter’s Declaration:
“PCBs are dangerous chemicals … even low concentrations of PCBs in air constitute an important route of exposure and disease, especially if the exposure is prolonged,” Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-SUNY.
See letter to Sandra Lyon and the SMMUSD’s Board of Education dated Oct. 7, 2013 from AMPS, Malibu High PTSA, The Shark Fund, The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, members of the Malibu High School Site Council, & Malibu Special Education Demanding that the SMMUSD take Steps to Keep Our Children and Teachers Safe:
Malibu Teachers to District: Test For More Toxins
A group of around 30 Malibu teachers has partnered with a Washington D.C. group to pressure the local school district to conduct full toxin assessments of Juan Cabrillo, Malibu High and Malibu Middle schools.
See Malibu Times News Article: http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_26d782d4-5601-11e3-be02-0019bb2963f4.html
In January 2014, SMMUSD staff raised concerns about PCB exposure in Malibu High School and Middle School (MHS) and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School (JCS) after three teachers reported thyroid cancer diagnoses.
See letter to Sandra Lyon from 12 teachers at Malibu High School:
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Classroom Teachers Association Urges SMMUSD Officials to Consider the Well-being of its Children and Staff
Santa Monica Teacher’s Public Comment:
The City of Malibu through Resolution No. 14-58 requests that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) conduct further source testing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at all Malibu school campuses and in all rooms. Every inch of caulking does not need to be tested to verify there are PCBs. It is reasonable and based on standard building practices is responsible to assume that all like caulking in the same building contains PCBs.
See City of Malibu’s September 23, 2014 Resolution No. 14-58 below:
Despite the October 2013, January 2014 letters and City of Malibu passing this Resolution, the SMMUSD refuses to relocate its students and teachers and administer any further testing, even turning down the offer of Malibu parent and supermodel Cindy Crawford to personally pay for the tests. The EPA, in the Oct, 31st, 2014 approval, made very clear that PCBs over 50ppm cannot be left in place. PCBs are not like lead paint and asbestos; they are not chemically the same nor are they handled by EPA the same way.
PCB Contamination at Malibu Schools is Now Part of the Malibu Association of Realtors Newest Disclosure Requirements for Buyers of Malibu Real Estate
The latest version of the Malibu-Topanga Disclosure Addendum, which went into effect on September 2, 2015, is intended to let prospective buyers know about local issues. This disclosure reads:
MALIBU SCHOOLS: “Some Malibu Schools (Juan Cabrillo Elementary, Malibu Middle School, and Malibu High School) have been determined to contain Polychlorinated biphenyl (“PCB”), a known carcinogen, in caulking and other building materials. Environmental assessments are ongoing. Buyer is encouraged to investigate and determine whether he considers the use of said materials a potential health hazard prior to close of escrow.”
See Malibu/Topanga Disclosure form here:
(This form does not replace the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory (CAR Form SBSA) and is intended only for the exclusive use of active members of the Malibu Association of REALTORS)
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to limit their exposure to liability from a toxic tort complaint, rather than to just simply comply with the TSCA, and protect its students and teachers from this continuing harm.
See Congressman Ted Lieu’s letter To America Unites For Kids regarding the October 2015 PCB Test Results to EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy:
America Unites for Kids Seeks Retraction from the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association for Misleading, Libelous and Inaccurate Statements Concerning PCB Contamination in Malibu Schools
See America Unites for Kids November 23, 2015 letter to SMMCTA:
In a bizarre twist, public school officials have filed a police report against a Malibu parent who allegedly took samples of window caulking from school buildings to test for toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is also actively looking for teachers and other community members who may be involved, even as two elected board members have condemned the effort. (see attached emails from Board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre)
See School Board Member emails here:
For two years Malibu Middle and High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School have been in an uproar as more than 30 Malibu teachers and alumni have come forward with serious health issues known to be related to PCB exposure.
District officials recently informed teachers and parents that it had filed a criminal vandalism complaint against a parent for taking caulk samples.
At the same time, the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District also did the following:
Threatened to seek prosecution of anyone who aids or even encourages the testing “no matter how seemingly insignificant that person’s role may be”;
Intimated obstruction of justice charges for refusal to cooperate with the investigation; and
Blocked teachers who wanted to move out of the most contaminated classrooms with proposed disciplinary action, even as two more cases of thyroid-related illness have been reported just in the past two days, including a former Malibu High teacher diagnosed with thyroid cancer who worked in classrooms with verified PCBs.
“It is utterly inappropriate to threaten parents for trying to make sure their children’s school is safe or teachers for protecting their own health,” stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein, noting the irony that the district’s latest heavy-handed measures came amidst a school anti-bullying campaign.
“The real criminal activity is maintaining a sick school and blocking a comprehensive cleanup.”
Several staff members of the SMMUSD have also condemned the criminal complaint, one of which is the Jaun Cabrillo Elementary school librarian who decried the “administration’s hounding of staff members for statements and the threat of prosecution.” (See attached email from School Librarian Suzanne Moscoso)
See School Librarian’s email here:
Superintendent Sandra Lyon told the board at the December 11, 2014 board meeting that the District has approval to spend $600+ per hour and the use of Pillsbury Law Firm as legal counsel, and now the SMMUSD Board has given her carte blanche permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to protect their decisions. See list of SMMUSD expenditures to date: $6,500,000 and rising!
Instead of remediating all of the toxic PCBS from the affected campus’ of Juan Cabrillo Elementary, Malibu Middle and Malibu High schools, the SMMUSD has spent approx. $8 million dollars on lawyers and environmental expenditures rather than $100 per caulk test.
Just what is the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District spending so much money to hide from the public?
Perhaps this is the reason why the SMMUSD has Lawyered Up?
CURRENT HEALTH ISSUES WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT MALIBU SCHOOLS
There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer
Please see map for more details to which rooms have illegal levels of PCBs.
As a result of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s reckless conduct, America Unites for Kids and PEER has sued the SMMUSD for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District is Ordered to Stand Trial on May 17, 2016 for Failure to Protect Students & Teachers from Toxic Levels of PCBs
For details, go to:
See link to America Unites for Kids and PEER’s First Amended Complaint against the SMMUSD:
The SMMUSD’s Adversarial Posturing is Costing the SMMUSD Millions of Dollars and Causing Unnecessary Harm to All of Their Students and Staff
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon should be fired for not adequately protecting the School District’s students and teachers.
For details, go to:
ITS TIME TO FIRE SUPERINTENDENT SANDRA LYON
See pdf copy:
See link to Change.org Petition:
Email the Santa Monica Unified School District’s Board of Education:
|Oscar de la Torre
|Dr. Jose Escarce