As the father of an 8-year-old attending Public School 36 on Staten Island, Richard P. Ghiraldi was alarmed to learn that students were being exposed to a known carcinogen, reports the New York Times. Last month, Mr. Ghiraldi and hundreds of other parents kept their children home from school for four days after tests showed that lighting ballasts--the devices that regulate electric current for fluorescent lights--were leaking the highly toxic chemical compounds known as PCBs onto the light fixtures and floor tiles.

“I was surprised they still had these old ballasts in schools,” said Mr. Ghiraldi, a paralegal. “You’d think the...

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