Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Information

Buildings constructed prior to 1978 may contain caulking made with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Long-term public health impacts are not well documented and understood. The School Department will be following all health and safety protocols established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Lexington Board of Health. Any projects on our buildings performed by Department of Public Facilities staff or their subcontractors will also be accountable for following DPH health and safety protocols.A summary of the project time line is located below the Resource Table. 

 On-Going Test Results at Clarke Middle School - Reports Submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering
 
 
 
EPA Request for Additional PCB Information for Clarke Middle School -- September 17, 2014
 
On-Going Test Results Taken at Estabrook School - Reports Submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EPA Short Term PCB Risk Based Disposal Approval:  December 9, 2011
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved our PCB maintenance and operations plan at the Estabrook School. The EPA's approval means that we will be allowed to use the Estabrook School without further abatement measures, provided we continue to meet all of our obligations under the maintenance and operations plan filed with the EPA. The approval is through December 31, 2014. If any resident would like to see the maintenance and operations plan, a copy is on file at the Estabrook School for public inspection.
Operations and Maintenance Plan Update: October 19, 2011

Update Notice from School Department:September 7, 2011

  • Air Sample Results - dated August 29, 2011, submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc.

Update Notice from School Department:August 30, 2011

Document Chronology

Federal Resources
State Resources
Local Resources
School Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

Part 1 submitted by EH&E September 6, 2010

Part 2  submitted by EH&E November 10, 2010

 

This section will be updated regularly as information becomes available at the federal and international level.

This section will be updated regularly as information becomes available at the state level.

This section will be updated regularly as information becomes available at the local level for the Town of Lexington. This section will be updated regularly as information becomes available at the school department or school building level.

EPA

  1. PCB Toxicity Information from EPA's Integrated Risk and Information System (IRIS) for Aroclor 1254
  2. PCB Toxicity Information from EPA's Integrated Risk and Information System (IRIS) for Aroclor 1016
  3. Toxicity Information from EPA's Integrated Risk and Information System (IRIS) for PCBs

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) RESOURCES

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH RESOURCES

  1. NIOSH - Registry of Toxic Effects for Chemical Substances (RTECS) - Aroclor 1254
  2. NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - PCBs (Chlorodiphenyl, 54% chlorine)
  3. OSHA PCB Information
  1. PCB Caulk Updated Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Chronology of Events Related to the PCBs in Lexington submitted by Department of Public Facilities
  1. Do you have questions specific to the Estabrook environmental concern? Email us.
  2. Estabrook Options dated 10-26-10 submitted by Pat Goddard, Director of Public Facilities
  3. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns dated 10-14-10 submitted by Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent
  4. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns dated 10-7-10 submitted by Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent
  5. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns submitted by Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent dated OCtober 5, 2010
  6. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns submitted by Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent dated September 25, 2010
  7. Update on Estabrook School Project submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering dated September 24, 2010
  8. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns submitted by Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent dated September 21, 2010
  9. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns submitted by Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent dated September 17, 2010
  10. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concern from Pat Goddard, Director of Public Facilities September 9, 2010
  11. Update on Estabrook School Environmental Concerns from Dr. Ash, September 8, 2010
  12. Handouts from September 7, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
  13. Estabrook School Education Plan: September 7 - September 10, 2010
  14. Estabrook School Work Plan: September 2 - September 10, 2010 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  15. Chronology of Events Related to the PCBs in Lexington submitted by Department of Public Facilities
  16. Correspondence included in timelines
  17. Notice of Work at Estabrook School

Advisory Committee

Submitted by
Environmental Health & Engineering
  1. Project Update for 9-10-10
  2. Project Update for 9-14-10
  3. Project Update10-6-10
  4. Project Update10-12-10
  5. Draft Site Specific Risk Assessment dated 10-20-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  6. K-1 Wing Assessment dated 10-19-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  7. Draft Site Specific Risk Assessment dated 10-20-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  8. Project Update dated 10-26-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  9. Project Update dated 10-28-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  10. Remaining Emissions of PCBs in Indoor Air of Estabrook Elementary School (K-1 Wing Assessment) dated October 29, 2010, submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.
  11. Project Update dated 11-11-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  12. Project Update dated 11-30-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  13. Project Updatedated 12-10-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  14. Project Update dated 12-17-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  15. Project Update dated 12-30-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  16. Estabrook Air Sample Results Summary through 12-30-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  17. Site-Specific Assessment for Polychlorinated Biphenyls dated February 26, 2011 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.
  18. Surface Samples Collected April 21, 2011 dated June 8, 2011, submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.
  19. Project Update dated 5-19-2011 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  20. Surface Samples Collected April 21, 2011 dated June 8, 2011, submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.
  21. End of School Year Report on Indoor Air, Including Samples Collected on May 21 and June 9, 2011, dated July 5, 2011
  22. Characterization of Soils Potentially Contaminated With Building-Related Polychlorinated Biphenyls,submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  23. Planned Refinement to the Operation and Maintenance Plan, dated August 29, 2011, submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc.
  24. Air Sample Results dated August 29, 2011, submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc.

 
Document Chronology - The following information is presented with the most current information at the top. 
 
Update Notice from School Department:September 7, 2011
  • Air Sample Results dated August 29, 2011, submitted by Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc.

Update Notice from School Department:August 30, 2011

Update Notice from School Department:July 20, 2011

Update Notice from School Department:May 20, 2011

Update Notice from School Department:January 2011

Update Notice from School Department:December 20, 2010

  • Project Update dated 12-17-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering

Update Notice from School Department:December 10, 2010

  • Project Update dated 12-10-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering

Update Notice from School Department:December 1, 2010

  • Project Update dated 11-30-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering

Update Notice from School Department:November 11, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:October 28, 2010

  • Project Update dated 10-28-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering

Update Notice from School Department:October 27, 2010

  • Project Update dated 10-26-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  • Estabrook Options dated 10-26-10 submitted by Pat Goddard, Director of Public Facilities

Update Notice from School Department:October 21, 2010

  • Special meeting scheduled to discuss Estabrook environmental concerns onTuesday, October 26, at Cary Hall, starting at 7:30 pm

    The purpose of the meeting is to share information and permit a dialogue among school committee members, Lexington employees, the EH and E consultant(s), and residents.

  • K-1 Wing Assessment dated 10-19-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering
  • Draft Site Specific Risk Assessment dated 10-20-10 submitted by Environmental Health & Engineering

Update Notice from School Department:October 14, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:October 7, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:October 5, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 27, 2010

  1. The following classes should not attend school on Monday, September 27th.

    • Ms. Drisko,
    • Ms. O'Hare-Gibson,
    • Dr. Berenson,
    • Ms. Linton,
    • Ms. Kramer,
    • Ms. Robertson,
    • Ms. Verity,
    • Ms. Whitcomb,
    • Ms. Gee,

  2. Advisory Committee information packets are posted to bottom of the School Resources section

Update Notice from School Department:September 21, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 17, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 10, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 9, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 8, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 7, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 3, 2010

Update Notice from School Department:September 2, 2010

  • September 2, 2010: Estabrook Elementary School closed.
    • Air Exchange Remediation begins at Estabrook. Building closed. Project Team members only are allowed in building or on site
    • Estabrook Incident Management Team met to work educational/curriculum impact of school closure; Admin. Council met to discuss space alternatives; Project Mgt Team (includes Supt.) met to continue working the building project;
    • Email for parent questions established: JosephEstabrook@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us. This email will collect questions and direct them to the appropriate individual for response to appear in a future Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on this site. This is a change from the parent meeting on September 1. Communication to parents will be forthcoming.
    • Revision to timeline made to include copies of all parent/community notifications and Parent/Community Meeting Panel members, School/Town Officials in attendance and section for Meeting minutes to be posted.
  • September 3, 2010: Estabrook Elementary School will be closed. School is already scheduled to be closed on Friday, September 3, 2010 according to the district school calendar (approved June 2, 2009)
  • September 4-6 (Labor Day Weekend): The next round of air sampling will occur with results anticipated by September 9, 2010. Monitoring and building adjustments approved by the EPA will continue until the air measurement guideline or target levels are met.
  • September 9, 2010: Receipt of air sampling results anticipated

Update Notice from School Department:September 1, 2010 (revised September 2, 2010 to include parent communications in the time line and Parent/Community Meeting)

  • August 31, 2010: Lexington Health Division received the second round of air sample data. Unfortunately, the approved EPA plan did not produce the expected improvements. The next step includes flushing the building with high volumes of outside air over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. EPA currently has the same data that was provided to the Health Division and it is currently under review by the Risk Assessment group.
    • Steps have already been taken to provide a safe school environment:
      • Interior caulking has been sealed to create a barrier. Wipe tests indicate Non Detect for the presence of PCBs.
      • Two rounds of extensive cleaning of the interior have removed any accumulated dust.
      • Exterior removal of caulk has been completed. A sealant will be installed, outside of school hours, by end of the week.
      • Any soil samples that shows more than 1 parts per million (ppm) and will be covered by an EPA approved method by the end of the week.
      • Ingestion, as a potential source of exposure, has been eliminated by the above methods.
    • Additional steps that are planned to improve the school environment:Public Facilities will install temporary high power ventilation fans on Friday to “flush,” or turn over the building with fresh air several times over the weekend.
  • August 31, 2010: "Joint Letter from Sandra Trach, Principal and Gerry Cody, Director of Health" sent to all parents of Estabrook students registered in the district as of August 17 via district's electronic messaging system (Global Connect)
  • September 1, 2010: Parent/Community Meeting at Cary Hall, 7:30 pm
    Speakers/Panel:Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent of Schools; Pat Goddard, Director of Public Facilities Department; and Gerard Cody, Director of the Health Division, Kim Tisa, EPA, Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Molecular Toxicologist (Chair of Board of Health), and from EH&E: David Macintosh, Kevin Coglan, and Matt Fragala.

    Moderator:
    David Ropeik

    Other Town/School Officials and Employees in attendance:
    Sandra Trach, Estabrook Principal; Three School Committee members attended as private citizens; Carol Pilarski, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development; Mary Ellen Dunn, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business; and Shawn Newell, Assistant Director of Public Facilities.

    Meeting Notes will be posted here when available.
  • September 2, 2010: Estabrook Elementary School will be closed.
  • September 3, 2010: School is already scheduled to be closed on Friday, September 3, 2010 according to the district school calendar (approved June 2, 2009)

Update Notice from School Department:August 25, 2010 (revised September 2, 2010 to include parent communications in the time line)

  • August 9, 2010: air sampling results indicated PCB in the air exceeding the EPA advised maximum concentrations at Estabrook School (Exception: The grade two modular windows do not contain PCB materials);
  • August 16, 2010: Environmental Health and Engineering (EH&E) and the Town of Lexington officials immediately sent a plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking approval for the expedited removal of the caulk materials around all exterior windows of Estabrook School;
  • August 17, 2010: Lexington received approval on the plan from the U.S. EPA. The scope of this project addresses the interior and exterior caulk of all exterior windows of Estabrook School;
  • August 18, 2010: A meeting was held with Superintendent Paul Ash, Director of Public Facilities Pat Goddard, Director of the Health Division Gerard Cody and Sandy Trach, Principal, to discuss specific steps for immediately implementing the approved plan;
  • August 23, 2010: Financing was appropriated
  • August 24, 2010: The contract for the work was awarded;Notice of Workposted; Remediation work began; "Letter from Principal Sandra Trach" mailed via USPS to all Estabrook Families (this copy does not include map of building for security reasons)
  • August 28, 2010: "Memo to Dr. Ash" sent to all parents of students registered in the district as of August 17 via district's electronic messaging system (Global Connect)
  • August 30, 2010: Anticipated completion of interior window caulk encapsulation will be completed prior to the first day of school.
  • September 17, 2010: Anticipated completion of exterior window caulk removal work will occur within the first two weeks of school.

Update Notice from School Department:July 20, 2010

JULY 15 UPDATE:The results from Environmental Health and & Engineering (EH&E) confirmed that PCB contaminated caulk (>50ppm) at Estabrook and Clarke, but the testing also eliminated several samples of caulk as being PCB free. The Board of Health and DPF have discussed the caulk results with EH&E and are proceeding with air sampling for Clarke and Estabrook to take place in late July. EH&H will determine which rooms need to be tested. The rooms will need to be in normal operating mode during the 8 hour sampling. It is expected this will be done in one day at each school.  The air sampling results will take 7 to 10 days. From these results DPF and the Board of Health will implement a corrective action, as approved by the proper regulatory agencies.

JUNE 15 UPDATE:As a follow up to the Board of Health press release on the PCB and caulk situation, Environmental Health and & Engineering (EH&E)has been contracted by Public Facilities to conduct a two phase analytical approach on measuring the PCB’s in the caulk at Clarke and Estabrook. They will use analytical approaches that are accepted by EPA and DOH.  EH&E will resample the caulk at Clarke and Estabrook in mid-June. If the results confirm the presence of PCB’s above 50 ppm, then DPF will schedule phase two, which is indoor air sampling.

Update Notice from Board of Health:May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010UPDATE:September 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) announced that certain building materials, in particular caulking, may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Along with this announcement, the EPA provided general guidance which contained information about studies that have been conducted on buildings built between 1950 and 1978. In general, schools and buildings built after 1978 do not contain PCBs in caulk. At one time caulk was manufactured to contain PCBs because PCBs imparted flexibility. Caulk is a flexible material used to seal gaps to make windows, door frames, masonry and joints in buildings and other structures watertight or airtight.

The School Department will be following all health and safety protocols established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Lexington Board of Health. Any projects on our buildings performed by Department of Public Facilities staff or their subcontractors will also be accountable for following DPH health and safety protocols.