Well known cover girl Cindy Crawford is pulling her kids out of their Malibu school because routine soil tests on the school grounds found elevated levels of a chemicals called PCBs in window caulking in the class rooms. PCBs were banned by Congress in 1976 after it was revealed they could cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.
Over the years, schools have been instructed to remove the caulking around windows if the schools were constructed between 1950 and 1979. But some schools haven't done it yet and so, during these routine tests, PCBs can sometimes be found.
Now, it's important to understand that kids in that Malibu school are not under imminent threat of death. The EPA advises that "though this is a serious issue, the potential presence of PCBs in schools and buildings should not be a cause for alarm – there are steps school administrators and building owners can take to protect students, teachers and others."
The Malibu school has announced it plans to remove the caulking which according to the EPA is quite a process. The EPA explains that during removal of PCB-containing caulk "it is critically important to ensure that PCBs are not released into the air during renovation or repair of affected buildings." In other words, it's a lengthy process not best undertaken weeks before the new school year begins.
It's also important to realize that children aren't being exposed to massive doses of this chemical. Unless they're snacking on the calk or snorting the caulk, very little of it is actually entering their bodies.
Of course, none of this is good enough for Crawford who responded to the school's promise to remove the caulk by saying she "I still don't feel 100 percent safe." Someone might want to inform this woman living a charmed life that very little in this world comes with a guarantee of 100 percent safety.
Crawford then addressed her real motivation: avoiding mommy guilt, explaining her concern that ten years from now her child could develop a caulk-related problem, adding "How could I live with myself, if I knew that it was a possibility, and I still sent them to school there."
Crawford and her husband have offered to pay for further testing in the school and some have defended her (she wants daily testing) saying at least she's ponying up the cash to pay for these tests. Some have asked why the school doesn't simply indulge her demands and acquiesce to daily testing? Well, because maybe the school's administration recognizes how unnecessary this is. Maybe they don't want the distraction or maybe it's because the school officials know it's their job to educate kids (and protect them from real dangers) not entertain the whims of every parent who freaks out about window caulking.
Look, every single day parents calculate the risks facing their kids and knowing the facts helps parents stay calm. The facts here are simple: Yes, caulk made with PCBs should be removed. Are her kids exposed to dangerous levels of this chemical? That depends on if they're somehow managing to eat the caulk.
Something tells me Cindy's kids are well fed and haven't resorted to snacking on window caulking to make it through the school day.
But who knows…this is Hollywood!