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PCBs in Schools — Still a Problem?

September 9, 2014
10:00 am US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Speaker presentation slides:

Madeleine Scammell: The Toxic Schoolhouse - Download the PDF

Dr. Herrick: Legacy PCBs in construction materials used in schools - Download the PDF

Dr. Hornbuckle: PCBs are both legacy and emerging contaminants: Evidence for current manufacturing sources of PCBs - Download the PDF

Dr. Sherr: The health effects of polychlorinated biphenyls or "How I learned to stop worrying and love the ban" - Download the PDF


Additional resources of interest:

The Eight International PCB Workshop, Oct 5-9, 2014, MA: A primary objective of the PCB Workshops is to provide a single forum for the world experts on issues of analysis, fate and transport, exposure assessment, metabolism and disposition, toxicity, and public health policy – a unique opportunity for scientists to come together and learn from each other.

Previous call in this series featuring the BU Superfund Research Program (MP3 recordings are available for all calls):

January 8, 2015: The State of the Water: Linking Ocean Health to Human Health

October 9, 2014: Home Invaders: Are Flame Retardants Fattening Us Up and Harming Our Bones?

September 9, 2014: PCBs in Schools - Still a Problem?

June 10, 2014: Catch of the Day: Healthy Fish, Healthy Humans

April 24, 2014: Healthy Urban Gardens: Your Soil Health and You

February 25, 2014: Chemical Trespassers in Your Indoor Air

October 24, 2013: Environmental Justice and the Superfund Research Program: Community Collaborations Making a Difference

May 23, 2013: 25 Years of the Superfund Research Program: Highlights and Hopes

Listen to Recording

Seventh in a series of calls organized by CHE and the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP).

Although toxic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were banned from production in the US over three decades ago, new research has found that PCBs produced as an unintended byproduct of some yellow dyes, inks and paints have been detected leaching from a range of products including those used in schools. On this call, researchers from the Superfund Research Program (SRP) provided a back-to-school look at PCBs in schools, PCBS in construction materials, the human health concerns of PCBs, and what actions we need to take to protect our children and others from exposures.

Featured speakers:

Dr. Robert Herrick, SD, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Herrick's research focus is on the relationships between exposures, biomarkers of exposure, dose, and effects, and control measures targeted to reduce exposures. He has developed a research program in hazard assessment and exposure controls for emerging technologies, including projects in several construction settings, and in the semiconductor industry. Recently he investigated PCB exposures and biomarkers of exposure among construction workers and teachers exposed to PCBs from building materials. Dr. Herrick is past-president of the International Occupational Hygiene Association, and past national chair of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. He has served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the EPA, and NIOSH.

Dr. Keri Hornbuckle, PhD, is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa. Her research addresses the sources, transport, and fate of persistent organic pollutants, including both legacy and emerging pollutants. She is an expert on the environmental fate and transport of PCBs, and published many scientific papers showing how these toxic compounds are released and transported through the atmosphere particularly in the Great Lakes region. As part of the Iowa Superfund Research Program (ISRP), she and her team operate and support large scale air sampling networks in Chicago, Northwest Indiana and rural Iowa.  She also manages an analytical laboratory that measures PCBs and related compounds in indoor/outdoor air, water, sediment, soils, human serum, and tissues from laboratory animals.

Dr. David Sherr, PhD is the Director of the Boston University Immunology Training Program, and a member of the Amyloid Treatment Research Program, the BU Cancer Center, the Hematology/Oncology Training Program, and the BU Hormone-dependent Cancer Center. Dr. Sherr is also the director of the Boston University Superfund Research Program. Since 1993, David Sherr’s laboratory has conducted research on how common environmental pollutants, such as dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and PCBs, adversely affect the growth and behavior of several different types of normal and malignant cells. In previous work, the Sherr laboratory studied how environmental chemicals affect the development of the immune system. More recently, Dr. Sherr’s laboratory has focused on the molecular mechanisms that initiate and maintain breast cancer and on the effects of environmental chemicals on these processes.

The call was moderated by Dr. Madeleine Scammell from the BU SRP.