Letter: Serious High School Concerns

Temporary fencing was installed in 2010 due to trenching work for a new information technology room at at the Malibu Middle and High School Campus. Soil containing elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was also removed in 2010, but some teachers believe the recent diagnoses of three colleagues with thyroid cancer may be related to contaminants at the campus. 

Just like the Malibu High School parents, students and most of the Malibu community, the high school’s Malibu Park neighbors were stunned to learn about the potential contamination at MHS. We were never told about the hazmat effort that attempted to remove contaminates from the campus. The disclosure of medical problems among the teaching staff only adds to our concern. 

Paul Rosenfeld, the environmental chemist hired by Malibu Parents for Healthy Schools, recently reminded Malibu Park residents why they should be troubled by the news from MHS. In the summer of 2010, some 1,017 cubic yards of pesticide and PCB-contaminated soil was removed from the middle school, yet no testing was done to see whether this stuff had gotten into the air. Airborne contamination from soil disturbance at the MHS poses a significant problem for Malibu Park neighbors and we want to work with the School District and The City to make sure that neither the students nor Malibu Park will ever again need to deal with this issue. 

The City of Malibu must take the necessary steps to understand the scope of the problem and exhaust all means to investigate whether contaminants are present on the MHS campus. If there are toxins on the property, measures must be taken to enforce remediation immediately. New construction must not commence until the City can provide assurances that contaminants from the high school, airborne or otherwise, would not affect the health of our children or the surrounding residents. 

We are requesting the City of Malibu to immediately conduct its own independent investigation of possible contamination at the high school. Please let us know how you plan to protect our children and our neighborhood.

Cami Winikoff, president, Malibu Community Alliance