San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city's Bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.
I hope they are found guilty and the settlement is based on “dynamic scoring” to include future lost tourist and food income caused by their poisons.
I have to confess that this story surprises me. San Diego is probably the most right-wing city in California.
With former Monsanto lawyer Thomas sitting on the Court with his fascist friends, however, this case will ultimately fail.
Nah, It will be a slap on the wrist and they will continue to give us frankenfoods…
MALIBU PARENTS AND TEACHERS SERVE NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT & EPA FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT VIOLATIONS
On January 12, 2015 America Unites for Kids and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a second 60-day notice of intent to sue the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). The lawsuit is called a Citizen’s Suit and is expressly authorized under the federal law known as Toxic Substance Control Act or TSCA. The suit will be seeking an injunction ordering SMMUSD officials to comply with the requirement under TSCA that all caulk with PCBs over 50 parts per million in the entire school be promptly removed from the Malibu Middle, High and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School campuses.
The person or persons responsible for the alleged violations are Sandra Lyon and Jan Maez, officials of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District; Ben Allen, Oscar de la Torre, Joe Escarce, Maria Leon-Vazquez, Laurie Liebermann, Ralph Mechur, Nimish Patel, Craig Foster, and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, current and former members of the SMMUSD Board of Education.
A similar lawsuit can be seen here:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
TOWN OF WESTPORT and WESTPORT COMMUNITY SCHOOLS,
MONSANTO COMPANY, SOLUTIA INC., and PHARMACIA CORPORATION,
Students and teachers are subjected to illegally high levels of dangerous chemical contaminants in Malibu public schools, according to a notice of intent to sue filed January 12, 2015 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) on behalf of teachers and Nagler and Associates on behalf of America Unites, led by concerned school parents.
This Notice concerns illegal levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found inside classrooms and campus soils. During the 2011 summer school session, the district removed from the Middle School Quad 48 truckloads of soil which, unbeknownst to parents and teachers, was contaminated with PCBs and pesticides. In the following two years, four teachers, including one who has since left the school, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
There are at least 10 known cases of thyroid disease among teachers and at least four students struggling with autoimmune health issues. In addition, alumni students have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Current Malibu City Council Woman, Laura Rosenthal, admitted she had knowledge of toxins found on the Malibu High School Campus and did nothing to inform the teachers or parents with children at the school. Rosenthal admitted she had knowledge of the toxins well before that information was released to the public. The admission came during a candidate’s forum held Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Pt. Dume Mobile Home Park Clubhouse located in Malibu, California.
Rosenthal was an active member- representative for the City of Malibu on the BB district wide committee as well as serving on the Site Committee for Malibu schools. Rosenthal confirmed she was serving on those committees during the time toxins were discovered and admitted that she did have and then withheld knowledge of the findings, but that she thought the “Teacher’s Union would let the teachers know” and the “Administration would inform the parents” ultimately stating, she was busy gearing up for her campaign and “You can’t do everything.”
Last fall, although no comprehensive soil testing was performed, at the parents’ insistence some of the school rooms were finally tested. These tests revealed that PCBs in 4 of 10 tested middle school classrooms exceeded the federal regulatory limit under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 50 parts per million (ppm) PCBs. The three teachers with thyroid cancer all taught in classrooms with illegal levels of PCB or with dust levels considered “PCB Contaminated.”
The district refused to administer any further caulk testing. This past July 2014 America Unites received laboratory results from the same lab used by the District of additional school soil and caulk samples. On July 17th, 2014, America Unites and PEER reported to both the district and EPA the following results:
Window caulking from Room 19 on the Juan Cabrillo campus contained 340,000 ppm of PCB;
Interior door caulking from room 506 at Malibu High contained 370,000 ppm of PCB;
Caulking from the Malibu High physical education faculty office contained 190 ppm of PCB;
and Three dirt samples from classrooms in Malibu High’s Building E had PCBs more than 11 times EPA’s residential screening limits.
Despite these alarming new test results, the District still refuses to do more caulk testing (even turning down the offer of Malibu parent and supermodel Cindy Crawford to personally pay for the tests). In addition, EPA has concurred in the District’s plan not to test any more caulk, to re-occupy classrooms with illegal levels of PCBs as long as air and dust samples come in below EPA’s “health guidelines” after cleaning, to remove the caulk only in the four windows found to violate TSCA by the District, and only after another entire school year – totally ignoring the far more severely contaminated caulk found in independent testing. “This notice is a demand that responsible officials follow the laws designed to protect our children,” said Jennifer DeNicola, a Malibu parent and President of America Unites. America Unites is represented by Nagler and Associates, an AV Preeminent rated law firm. “We are frustrated that the District – and even EPA itself – both continue to disregard the law by conducting classes in rooms that are contaminated.”
“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.
The SMMUSD has spent approx. $3.7 million dollars on lawyers and environmental expenditures rather than $100 per caulk test. 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.
SMMUSD’s expenditures and approvals to date include: More than $2.7 million on environmental consultants, primarily to monitor rather than remove pollutants; $775,000 on the environmental defense law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, without any litigation pending; and Tens of thousands of dollars on lodging and travel expenses including a luxury beach “villa” summer rental for $9,000 per month, as well as thousands more on hotels, meals, and travel billed by the environmental engineering firm Environ, even though Environ was hired in part because it is locally based.
Just what is the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District spending so much money to hide from the public?
Testing approximately 150 classrooms and offices throughout the 3 campuses (including bathrooms and storage rooms) would only cost $60,000. Then everyone would know where the sources of PCBs are and be in a position to discuss the best way to remediate, remove or rebuild. Until this source testing is done, the Malibu community cannot ever be assured that their children are not being unnecessarily exposed to toxic PCBs. Testing the caulking could trigger further TSCA violations and that is the reason the district is avoiding caulk testing. A lawsuit should not be necessary to ameliorate the illegal and unhealthy conditions in an American school,” stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein, whose group is advocating on behalf of teachers and staff concerned about the effect contamination on campus is having on their health. “We invite both the District and EPA to sit down with us to resolve these disturbing issues or we will see them in court.”
Examples of other School District where PCBs were above the legal limits, and as a result were removed by those school districts and not left in place.
Lexington, CT: approx. 37,000 ppm (built a new school rather than remove)
P.S.199 Manhattan, NY: wall panel corridor 217,000 ppm (was removed)
Brooklyn, NY corridor display case: 440,000 ppm (removed)
Hartford School District, CT has discovered PCBs in their schools, has removed children and closed the school until they find a remedy.
John Ferbas MS., Hyg., PH.D. stated the following:
“It seems that some are allowing themselves to get lost in the weeds of what is permissible tolerable limit (PEL) to PCBs may or may not be, or who has the authority to test for PCBs. IF the PEL concept had any legitimacy, (the gov’t) would still allow for new construction to use PCB-laced caulking so long as it remained below a threshold: but (they) do not because it is wrong (illegal) to do so. So the fact that MHS and JC contain caulking with PCB levels orders of magnitude above even the most conservative PEL estimates is egregious.” -Ferbas
Children cannot be exposed to PCBs, lower IQ, Memory Loss, Autism, Auto-Immune, Thyroid, Hypertension, Cancer… Congress passed a law protecting American’s from PCB exposure…50 ppm and it must be removed!
This has been a long time coming. Back in the late 1980s when I lived there the issue of PCBs in San Diego Bay was well known. I believe Hughes Aircraft was one offender, there was an area in the north end that was known to have a large amount of PCBs that people said nothing was going to be done about, I don’t know it that’s true or not. Nonetheless, the offenders have been off the hook for quite a while. The attitude in San Diego used to be passive about the issue, glad to see the port fight back.