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Colonia HS mom says independent testing shows evidence of toxic chemicals on school campus

A parent of two Colonia High School students says her own independent testing shows there is evidence of dangerously high levels of chemicals on the school campus.

News 12 Staff

Oct 18, 2022, 4:20 PM

Updated 636 days ago

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A parent of two Colonia High School students says her own independent testing shows there is evidence of dangerously high levels of chemicals on the school campus.
The data comes to light about five months after the state cleared the school of any traces of radon or radiation.
The concerned mother’s tests found high levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) in select areas of the building. Edyta Komorek says she pulled her children from the school following her tests. Some parents are asking if they should do the same.
“I don’t want the school to be closed down. I don’t want it to be torn down. But I want to be sure that it’s safe,” says parent Adriana Vitale.
Vitale’s daughter is a sophomore at Colonia High School. She says that after seeing the results of the independent test, she wants the state to return and conduct its own tests on the soil, water and air.
“These numbers are astronomical. They’re a thousand, 2,000 times what the levels should be,” Vitale says.
Komorek’s samples were taken from an exterior wall, from soil and from a bathroom stall. The samples were then sent off to two independent labs and reported high levels of PCBs.
But these samples and results need to be examined by the state Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection, according to Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac. The mayor was at the high school on Tuesday discussing the sampling with the superintendent.
"How was it handled? What was the chain of custody? It was done by individuals. I don't know if necessarily by a testing company. It was evaluated by a lab apparently,” says Mayor John McCormac.
The original DEP testing came up negative for radon and radiation. These original tests were done to see if there was any connection between Colonia High School and at least 120 individuals who have developed brain cancer over the last 30 years.
State DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette released those findings in May, stating, "I understand the inclination to chase down whatever it could be. We have confidence in the examination that was done here."
McCormac has a message for concerned parents.
"Right now, there is no indication that anything is unsafe in this school,” he says.
Concerned parents are hoping that this sparks more testing for toxins other than radon. Vitale admits she was skeptical of the state’s findings and continues to worry for her daughter.
“I am very concerned. Dropping her off, I feel like, ‘What am I doing?’” Vitale says.
Family members who have lost relatives to cancer have said the state needs to keep testing until they find an answer.


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