(letter to the editor in response to Arnold York’s The Politics of Hysteria article on March 19, 2014)


I am a parent of a 6th grader at Malibu High School.  Last October, I attended a standing-room-only meeting led by district superintendent, Sandra Lyon, who promised the families of Malibu High that she would do all she could to fix the problem (that was identified back in 2009) in a timely manner.  Now, it’s the end of March, and the problem is not even close to being fixed, despite the fact that the district’s initial testing triggered the EPA’s regulatory control which meant a federal government agency had to be brought into the mix and we still, to date, don’t know how widespread the PCB contamination is.  I am not a researcher.  I’m a mom with a fierce desire to keep my family safe.  Despite my non-scientist status, here’s what I know.  I know that toxins are not just up at Malibu High; they are everywhere.  I know that the air we breathe, the ocean and pools we swim in, the food we ingest and the water we drink and bathe in have toxins.  The chemicals in our deodorant, make-up, lotions, perfumes, cleaners, detergents; the list goes on and on; also are increasing our toxin load.  I know that a toxin does not stand-alone.  It combines with all the other toxins we’ve encountered over our lifetime, resulting in cumulative damage.  You know what else I know?  I know that when I was eight months pregnant, I began having gran mal seizures, seemingly out of nowhere.  “Out of nowhere” became a brain tumor.  And when that tumor was removed and biopsied, it was a Grade Four Glioblastoma.  Not to sound trite, but there is no Grade Five.  I thought I wouldn’t live to see my child walk.  Given that there is no genetic link when it comes to brain tumors, I began to live a cleaner, less toxin-filled life. Eleven years later, I’m alive and have a beautiful kid, who I look at and think of all the things I can’t control that heighten her toxin load.  But the things I can control – like the possible contamination up at the high school, where she spends a minimum of 35 hours a week, August through June – I want answers and I want them now.  So when someone says to me that I am “governed by the politics of hysteria,” I nod my head, agreeing that, when it comes to my kid and her health, I am most definitely hysterical.


I am encouraged by the latest announcement from our district representatives re: the testing of MHS and JCES.  The district has heard our voices, but we must continue to speak up with vigilance.  Malibu Unites helps us do this as a cohesive group. This isn’t just a school issue; it’s a community issue.  If you live up by the high school, if you play on their fields, even if you just walk your dog around their track, we need you to speak up.  Please join Malibu Unites at, like them on Facebook at Malibu Unites and follow them on Twitter @MalibuUnites.


Sky Kunerth

Mother and Malibu Unites Advocate

Click Here to See Arnold York’s Article




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