PCB Issues Continue to Plague Malibu High

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In an online news release, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District reported that source polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in building materials in buildings D and G at Malibu High School, buildings where PCBs had not previously been tested for or known to be located.

It seems that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s theme for 2018 is “transparency,” something Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati was quick to mention in the two-page document. Parents and guardians received the letter in an email on Jan. 18. 

The construction process at Malibu High School—originally a remodel that later became a remediation project—has been ongoing since early last summer, during which crews have been removing PCBs from window and door caulking.

According to Drati, these new findings are “not a cause for alarm.” 

While sampling for PCBs, the school district found the substance in “several types of tiles” and mastic, an adhesive commonly used to stick construction materials together, in building D.

PCBs were also found in the varnish on plywood walls in the woodshop and ceramics room in the art and special education building G. A special education suite adjacent to building G has a drywall facade, which will prevent PCB exposure, according to the school district memo.

The district’s Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton spoke to members of the MHS Parent Teacher Student Association on Jan. 25 to address the situation.

“SMMUSD has the health and safety of students and staff in mind as we continue to manage these issues as part of our construction plan, in accordance with EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] support and guidelines,” Drati concluded.

Upton was not available for comment by the time The Malibu Times went to print.