Vermont officials change rule for PCBs in school buildings

November 19, 2021 GMT

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont health officials are changing guidelines on safe levels of PCBs in schools after learning that a certain amount of the toxic chemical is common in indoor environments.

This week health officials announced that polychlorinated biphenyls can be toxic to people if they surpass 100 nanograms per cubic meter in the air of buildings used by people ages seventh grade and up, 60 nanograms for elementary school students, and 30 nanograms for pre-kindergartners, WCAZ-TV reported.

Previous guidelines suggested that no more than 15 nanograms of PCBs per cubic meter in a building’s air be permitted.

The new guidelines are a part of a law enacted this summer that requires the state to test for PCB levels in schools built before 1980, legislation spurred by the permanent closure of Burlington High School last year because of high PCB levels, the news station reported.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has received $4.5 million to test for PCBs in schools and enforce standards if a school’s levels surpass the state guidelines.