Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber have decided to pull their children, 15-year-old Presley and 13-year-old Kaia, from school because some routine tests found high levels of PCBs in the Malibu High School’s window caulking.
“I don’t feel 100 percent safe,” Crawford said during a Today Show interview this morning. Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have been found to be carcinogens that can also harm the reproductive and immune systems. Congress banned them in 1976.
Two schools in the Malibu area, including Malibu High School tested 10 random classrooms for PCBs, and four of those were over the limit allowed. Although the schools have plans to remove caulk in those particular classrooms, and air and swipe tests have found no PCBs, Crawford is still wary. “I’m very frustrated and I’m very disappointed at the way this has been handled,” Crawford said. “The problem is, for me, that they haven’t tested the source. I think that air testing and water testing are a great piece of the puzzle. Unless they’re testing every day, how do I know that every day it’s safe for my kid?” Because PCB levels can vary from from day to day, a random test may not reveal the amount of PCBs being emitted on other days.
This isn’t just blind paranoia, Cindy knows her stuff. Before she became a model, she had a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University. She’s not just complaining and asking others to fix the problem, she’s actually offered the schools money to pay for more rigorous PCB testing. “I look 10 years down the line. What if my kid, God forbid, had a problem?” asked Crawford. “How could I live with myself if I knew that it was a possibility and I still sent them to school there?”
Malibu High School still insists that their school are safe. “Using federal EPA standards, our schools are safe for students and employees,” they said in a statement. But Crawford is unmoved, and thinks the problem is much bigger than these schools. “This is not a Malibu issue,” said Crawford. “This is really an issue in a lot of older schools. I just think the laws need to be changed.”