High concentrations of the group of carcinogenic chemical know as PCBs have been detected in about 60 lower secondary schools across the country.
A study carried out by the government’s environment and energy agencies, Miljøstyreslen and Energistyrelsen, has lead to calls for the schools to be renovated or rebuilt.
The lobbying group for the construction industry, Dansk Byggeri, said that councils will have to invest billions to safely carry out the work
“The report found such a high concentration of PCBs in some of the buildings that they should be destroyed under controlled conditions,” Dansk Byggeri spokesperson Torben Liborious told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “If 60 schools cost 150 million kroner each to replace, that adds up to nine billion kroner alone. Tearing down the buildings is a complicated job and we calculate that around 13,500 jobs will be created by removing the PCBs in schools.”
The climate, energy and buildings minister, Martin Lidegaard (Radikale), said the news highlighted the need for action.
“Schools with high concentrations of PCBs need to be identified so the children’s health is protected,” Lidegaard stated in a press release. “Several councils have already started, but all the councils need to join in the fight against PCBs”
Councils now have six months to start renovations in schools with PCB levels above governmental guidelines.
Lidegaard said that while the councils were responsible for doing the work, the government would provide resources to help them tackle the problem.
PCBs were found in construction materials such as flooring and paint between 1950 and 1977before they were banned over fears that they cause cancer, damage skin and hamper communication abilities.