Stop Exposing Our School Staff and Kids to Toxic Mercury Floors emitting mercury vapor have now been found in at least 25 school districts in New Jersey. Schools have been utilizing rubber-like polyurethane floors since the 1960s. Some of these floors, installed as late as 2006, contain phenyl mercuric acetate (PMA), a catalyst which releases odorless, colorless mercury vapor. Mercury vapor can damage the central nervous system, kidneys, lungs, eyes, and skin and is especially toxic to children and fetuses.
Wall Street’s power and influence often thwarts progress on a range of social policies, putting corporate greed ahead of public need. Yet, the state of New Jersey deposits billions of dollars in public money and taxpayer dollars with Wall Street banks, which have little incentive to invest in New Jersey’s families or communities. These firms often invest public funds in risky asset classes instead of local businesses or infrastructure projects. Thus, the state pays out large management fees, sacrificing billions of dollars in state revenue, and this exposes public dollars to the whims of a volatile market. This perversion allows bankers to generate private wealth, while cash strapped states cut and privatize services, facing shrinking tax bases exacerbated by Wall Street backed policy reforms and the financial strip mining of state and municipal economies.
For decades, there has been scientific consensus that temperatures above 80 degrees produce harmful physiological effects that decrease work efficiency and output. According to the National Clearinghouse of Facilities, poor thermal conditions have also been shown to negatively impact student and teacher morale and performance. No child should have to deal with extreme classroom temperatures that are not conducive to learning and may pose a serious health risk. The closure of schools because of intemperate weather is a reminder of the significant facility issues that confront all public schools. In an era of increasing temperatures, longer summers, and harsher winters because of climate change, the problem of extreme temperatures in the classroom won't go away anytime soon. In fact, it will likely continue to get worse. It’s imperative that we ensure that classrooms are optimum learning environments. Passage of temperature control legislation would avoid the minute-by-minute waffling that too often occurs when districts are thinking of closing schools because of the weather. It would transform an opaque process and make it more transparent for all constituencies: parents, teachers, principals, administrators and students. Show your support for much needed temperature control legislation by signing our petition! [...]
New Jersey Work Environment Council and our allies strongly urge Governor Christie to take action to protect our lives, jobs, health, schools, and businesses. The deadly hazards of crude oil shipments on rail are concerning to residents in New Jersey as thousands of rail cars now pass through our communities every week, including through densely populated areas such as Union and Middlesex counties. Governor Christie should direct his administration to release information from the railroads on crude oil shipments instead of keeping the public in the dark. Sign this petition urging Governor Christie to take specific steps to respect our right to know! Sign Petition