Letter to Alachua County School Board about testing ALL 12 schools soil and dust within the 2-mile radius of the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site

11 Jun

Update:

Nearly three months have passed since Superintendent Dan Boyd and the rest of the Alachua County School Board received this letter on behalf of our children’s health and safety. So far, Boyd and his staff have failed to respond. At all.

Alachua County parents are justifiably concerned for our children’s well-being, and our elected school board officials bear the responsibility of answering our concerns. Dr. Boyd’s stubborn refusal to address the extremely serious issues raised here is shameful and unacceptable. Parents have the right to complete and accurate data regarding toxins our sons and daughters may be exposed to in local schools.

If you agree that Alachua County’s children deserve the same concern and protection of their health and well-being provided to other US children by their school boards, please email Superintendent Boyd at supt@gm.sbac.edu and demand the immediate indoor testing of all schools within a 2-mile radius of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site by a federally registered and approved testing firm.

___________________________

March 12, 2011

Dear Dr. Boyd,

I write regarding the recent testing for soil contaminants on the grounds of just three local Gainesville public schools.

There are approximately 12 public schools within a 2-mile radius of the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site.  For example, Rawlings Elementary is as close to the site as Howard Bishop.  Moreover, in other cities with superfund sites, the interiors of schools within a 2-mile radius of the sites were tested for contamination.

Recently conducted tests for indoor dioxin contamination of local homes have yielded results that are hundreds of times higher than the results of tests for dioxin contamination in soil outside of these homes, and hundreds of times higher than the state sctl for residential soils (7ppt).  Many of Gainesville’s dangerously contaminated homes are immediately adjacent to our schools and daycare centers!

So why are Alachua County’s children being treated differently than children in other school districts containing superfund sites?  Our children clearly deserve the same concern and protection of their health and well-being provided to other US children by their school boards.

I cannot stress enough, just how crucially important it is to conduct indoor pollutants tests of our schools. This is only logical because students spend the majority of their time attending school indoors, not outdoors.  Additionally, as you will know, soil on school grounds is usually replaced on a regular basis, rendering results of school ground soil tests inaccurate.

Soil quality tests will hardly determine how much contamination from Koppers our children are exposed to each day as they sit in school.  I hope I don’t need to remind you that children are far more vulnerable to the effects of indoor pollution than we adults.  Alachua County agencies should act now by undertaking proper and thorough testing, and then follow through with all necessary actions based upon those detailed results.

This is a matter of grave concern to us all.  Our children are our most precious resource, and the future belongs to them.  Alachua County parents deserve to know exactly what toxic hazards our children are being exposed to in their learning environment.  As a parent and citizen of this county I demand, therefore, the immediate indoor testing of all schools within a 2-mile radius of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site.

Sincerely,

Sandra Watts Kennedy

President, Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Incorporated

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