U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) today introduced the Get Toxic Substances Out of Schools Act, which establishes coordination between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Education to remove toxic substances such as lead and asbestos. The bill also explicitly adds polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of hazards that the EPA must consider when developing environmental health guidelines for schools. The bill authorizes $52 billion for Healthy High-Performance Schools programs and includes high-road labor standards for projects funded by the grant program.
In response to the bill’s introduction, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:
“The fact that in schools across the nation—and particularly in low-income and communities of color—students are regularly exposed to toxic substances that negatively impact their health is inexcusable. The Get Toxic Substances Out of Schools Act will not only protect our students from dangerous substances like PCBs, PFAS, lead, and asbestos, it will create good jobs doing good work in communities across the nation. We applaud Sen. Markey for introducing this important piece of legislation and whole-heartedly endorse this bill. We urge its swift passage.”