Malibu Unites Press Release: March 7, 2014




Malibu, March 7, 2014 — Malibu parents, teachers, community leaders, public figures, scientists, medical experts, and environmental groups have come together to form Malibu Unites, a non-profit group that will advocate for healthy, environmentally safe schools.

The current environmental issues at Malibu public schools date back to 2010, when pesticides, PCBs and other toxins were found in the soil on the Malibu High School Campus. This occurred when the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District ordered an Environmental Impact Report as part of the proposed remodel of the Malibu campus. Arcadis, the environmental firm hired by the school district, stated pesticides and PCBs were present in the middle school quad “at concentrations that presented an unacceptable health risk.” During the summer of 2011, unbeknownst to parents and teachers, 48 truckloads of toxin-contaminated soil were removed in a remediation effort while summer school was in session.

Following the soil removal, four teachers have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, a disease with an expected annual incidence of less than 2 per 10,000 Americans. As of today, there are at least 10 known cases of thyroid disease among teachers as well as other serious health concerns, and at least four students struggling with autoimmune health issues.

In 2013, PCBs in 5 of 10 tested middle school classrooms exceeded Federal regulatory limits and Malibu High now requires remediation under EPA oversight. The three classrooms with the highest PCB levels are the rooms in which three teachers with thyroid cancer teach. Three years after the initial discovery of toxins in the soil, we still do not know their source nor do we know the extent to which toxins may contaminate the rest of the campus, including sports fields and playgrounds.

To date, the district has spent over $500,000 on consultants and attorneys but has accomplished only preliminary testing. Malibu Unites has formed to advocate for a fiscally responsible focus on comprehensive testing, any necessary remediation, and ensuring that children and teachers can teach and learn in a healthy environment. The organization’s first goal is to advocate for the parents and community members to execute a comprehensive plan with the district to identify and remove any toxic substances present at Malibu High/Middle Schools and the adjacent Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. On a broader scale, we plan to work with California’s public officials on creating Parents’ Right to Know Legislation. Our Congressional and Senate officials have already expressing strong interest in advocating for this necessary law to protect all parents and children in the state.

The Malibu Unites website can be found at

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