Cancer Cluster At Malibu High? - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Cancer Cluster At Malibu High?

Posted: Updated:

Malibu, with its glistening pristine coastline and its multi-million dollar mansions and movie stars, is capturing the spotlight for a much less glamorous and possibly life-threatening reason. One third of the teachers at Malibu High School claim recent construction and moldy classrooms are making them seriously sick. The health complaints range from cancers to skin diseases as well as other ailments and illnesses.

The complaints began after the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District hired contractors to dig up and cart away more than a thousand cubic yards of dirt contaminated with carcinogenic PCBs, lead and pesticides. The contaminants apparently accumulated over the years from termite treatment at a five decade old section of the school. Those buildings are used for visual arts, music and drama. There is one report of three teachers being treated for thyroid cancer within the last six months while three others are receiving treatment for thyroid gland problems. Seven other teachers have reportedly had persistent migraine headaches. Still others are said to be suffering from inexplicable hair loss, skin rashes, respiratory ailments, even bladder cancer.

The district has already hired an environmental consulting firm which it calls "highly qualified" to investigate the concerns and complaints and recommend corrective action if necessary. Meanwhile, district officials say parents should have no qualms about sending their kids to school insisting that the classrooms in the older buildings are safe. Superintendent Sandra Lyon emphasizing "we know they are safe just as much as you know that your house is safe."

But some parents remain unconvinced, especially since they say they were never informed about the latest environmental testing, which began about two weeks ago. The district expects to have the test results "very soon."  But it can't be soon enough for the teachers, students and parents who, right now, have many more questions and concerns than they have answers.

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