Hartford parents demand answers, updates from school district after air contamination

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HARTFORD — At a meeting of the Hartford City Council Wednesday night Connecticut state health officials and officials with Hartford Public Schools received an earful from city leaders and parents regarding the existence and remediation of PCBs at Clark Elementary School.

According to the EPA:

PCBs belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were domestically manufactured from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979. They have a range of toxicity and vary in consistency from thin, light-colored liquids to yellow or black waxy solids. Due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, high boiling point, and electrical insulating properties, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment; as plasticizers in paints, plastics, and rubber products; in pigments, dyes, and carbonless copy paper; and many other industrial applications.

At the same time as the council meeting, an open house was scheduled at Wish Elementary School for parents to tour the building and for officials to answer any questions.

“We’re acting on an abundance of caution and while we’re going in with our contractors and pinpointing the source of the issue and working to remediate that would be disruptive to the children’s’ education,” said Dr. Beth Narvaez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

District officials say they don’t know what is causing the elevated levels of PCBs. The Connecticut Department of Health says the levels of PCBs are not dangerous to students even if they had prolonged exposure to the air particles.

Another open house is planned for next week for parents who missed Wednesday’s event.

Related stories:

What should happen to the PCB contaminated Hartford elementary school?

Clark students to be relocated to alternate schools Monday

Clark Elementary & Middle School closed after chemicals found in air