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posted Jan 31, 2012, 11:58 AM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Jan 31, 2012, 5:21 PM ]

Empire State Consumer Project

Center for Health, Environment and Justice

Healthy Schools Network


The photo shows the disregard for safety of workers and bystanders, and children in classrooms with opened windows.  The chemicals being sprayed during the school day are so lethal that during the K2000 scare, they were deemed some of the most deadly in the nation and plants were shut down.  Over a half million people died as a result of exposure to this same chemical in the Union Carbide/Bhopal India tragedy, considered the world's worst industrial disaster.  The land remains polluted and people of India continue to suffer as a result. 

As a teacher, my neurological and respiratory system was seriously and permanently damaged by spray-on-foam roofing (I.P.Inc.) and sealant (Carboline) applied during school day.  Despite claims of injuries to children and teachers, the owner, Jim English, refused to stop spraying the chemicals.   More than two dozen children were also seriously injured by the cancer causing chemicals.  School officials and the Defendants denied our claims of injury by accusing the injured of mass hysteria and by giving false information, published in the Sun Herald, that the EPA reported that the chemicals were nontoxic. Teachers were threatened by non-renewal of their yearly contracts into siding with the school and the applicator and against me.  LeRoy School students and their parents are David's going against Goliath industries.  I offer the following questions and the true story Toxic Justice in addition to those posted in the Press Release below.

Questions for the White House to answer.

How can President Obama back up his agenda to improve educational performance in U.S. Schools when school boards and school officials fail to protect schoolchildren from environmental and chemical hazards known to impair learning?  Minorities and lower income students are particularly at risk.  The CDC reports that asthma rising to epidemic proportions among students and teachers.  Kids can't learn if they are absent and sickened at school.  School officials do not have to tell parents that their child was exposed to hazards environmental or chemical products used or stored at school.  Nor do school officials have a duty to warn of environmental and chemicals risks.  Prior to the application of the roofing chemicals at my school, two tankers of the highly toxic and flammable chemicals were parked next to the school cafeteria for more than two weeks while children were present.  I was told that the two tankers carried enough chemicals to kill everyone in the city.  The applicator lied that the tankers contained only water, but later admitted under sworn testimony that the tankers contained isocyanate, toluene, and other deadly chemicals.

How can Michelle Obama back up her agenda to reduce child obesity through healthy school lunch programs, but say nothing when those meals made from products containing pesticides, prepared, stored, served from and served onto toxic plates and in toxic containers that are proven to cause health problems, including obesity?

2012 Presidential Election: Which one of the Presidential Hopefuls will be first to recognize and provide a solution to the growing problem of Toxic Schools in the U.S. and Toxic Justice for the injured?


For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Contacts:            Judy Braiman, ESCP, 585-383-1317,

Anne Rabe, CHEJ, 518-732-4538,

Claire Barnett, HSNetwork, 202-543-7555,  





Release Letters Sent to State and Federal Environmental, Health and Education Agencies 


(Rochester/Albany, NY) Environment, consumer and environmental health groups, backed by Le Roy, NY parents, today urged federal and state agencies to conduct a full investigation of all possible sources for the outbreak of a neurological disorder affecting school children at the Le Roy high school  in Genesee County. The coalition of groups released Freedom of Information Act letters and other letter requests to the NYS Department of Health (DOH), Le Roy Central School District, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), NYS Education Department (SED) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The letters requested that there be a transparent environmental investigation to look into whether there is any contamination from gas wells on the school property, a nearby Federal Superfund site, a State Superfund site, a delisted State Superfund site, past insecticide and pesticide uses, and other school facility environmental conditions.  In addition, the letters asked how the DOH investigated vaccines, infections and communicable diseases as possible causes.   


Judy Braiman, President, Empire State Consumer Project, said "We ask children in school to show their work when problem-solving. Now we are asking the agencies to "show your work." Among other issues, we are asking about the qualifications and independence of the health professionals initially consulted. Earlier this month, the DOH declined to share their evidence, and labeled the illness "conversion disorder." That is a diagnosis of exclusion.  They need to fully assess all factors such as vaccines, infections and communicable diseases or environmental exposures, before saying the multiple cases are attributed to a mass hysteria."   


Parents of two ill Le Roy school students, Jim Dupont and Beth Miller, stated: "We are overwhelmed by the complex problems now facing too many families and their affected children. We hope that full, appropriate, and speedy investigations will help prevent more illnesses. Parents need backup: we appreciate the help because we absolutely cannot do this on our own. Environmental conditions need to be investigated, before they are ruled out."


Claire Barnett, Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network, said, "We are alarmed by the early rush to judgment. The school's January 2012 environmental reports are so narrow and so generic they could not give any school anywhere a "clean bill of health," let alone Le Roy, which was built on swampy land, operates gas wells, and is near State and Federal Superfund sites. Independent qualified professionals in pediatric environmental health and in indoor environments and in outdoor environments are needed.

Anne Rabe, Campaign Coordinator, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, said, "The state and federal agencies need to fully investigate all possible toxic exposure pathways that could be impacting students and school personnel.  We hope that this is not the case, but toxic exposures cannot be ruled out until adequate environmental testing is done. The community needs a transparent environmental investigation plan conducted by the agencies and school. If the school is burning raw gas laced with toxic contaminants, then ambient air testing of the gas wells, school boiler stack and the school's indoor air needs to be done.  Soil and water testing of the school property is needed to ensure that rumors of past industrial dumping in the area, as well as the nearby State Superfund Lapp Insulator site, delisted State Superfund Target Products site, and the Lehigh Valley Derailment Federal Superfund site, which created contaminated groundwater in the past, has not polluted the school property."


The Empire State Consumer Association, Healthy Schools Network and the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, filed Freedom of Information Act letters and other letter requests with the Le Roy Central School District, DOH and SED asking them to investigate environmental factors, such as carbon monoxide, the possible impact of the nearby TCE-contaminated Federal Superfund site, gas wells and raw gas uses onsite, occupational health complaints, as well as DOH’s management of the investigation. CHEJ also released its request to EPA Region 2 and DEC regarding the Superfund site, four mile plume of highly toxic TCE in the groundwater, and four gas wells. The Network also released its request to the SED on Le Roy school facility inspections 


Links to all the documents are below,  Both the Le Roy district and SED have initiated responses, as has DEC.  Over the weekend, the Le Roy district posted a new public statement about the outbreak, indicating it was participating with various agencies to assess environmental and other factors.


Empire State Consumer Project, works to reduce the use of pesticides and other chemicals toxic to human and environmental health and well-being of all consumers, especially children.

FOIA to Le Roy CSD - 



Healthy Schools Network, the nation's leading nonprofit promoting children's environmental health in schools through research, award winning public education and assistance for parents, personnel and schools, and policy advocacy. 

FOIA to NYS Education Department (SED) -


Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, a national environmental health organization working with communities to prevent harm from toxic exposures, provides technical and organizing assistance and public education, and organizes national and state environmental health campaigns. 

Letter to EPA Region 2 -

Letter to DEC regarding Federal Superfund site and TCE groundwater plume, and active gas wells -