School's future uncertain after discovery of toxic chemicals

Posted: Updated:
BROOKHAVEN -

The future of the Frank P. Long Intermediate School remained uncertain Wednesday after the discovery of traces of toxic chemicals there.

Worried parents took to the podium one by one at Wednesday night's school board meeting at Bellport High School, calling for Frank P. Long's closure.

"I am outraged to send my children to a school with asbestos, pesticides and mold," said one parent.

Parents were joined in the packed auditorium by former and current teachers, students, and even people who aren't affiliated with the school.

As News 12 has reported, the school sits in the shadow of the Brookhaven Town landfill. Parents and staff believe contaminants from the landfill are responsible for multiple illnesses and even deaths.

"I was blindsided by a diagnosis of lung cancer, and I lost my left lung," says Theresa Palermo, a teacher at Frank P. Long for 36 years. "The doctors felt that it was environmental because there was no other reason for me to have lung cancer."

At the last school board meeting, the company that conducted testing for the district said it found only one volatile compound that exceeds Environmental Protection Agency standards and that it does not believe the compound is related to the landfill.

Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, saw the report and says the results were concerning.

"This is a mix of volatile organic chemicals that we know are toxic and we know cause neurological disorders, developmental disorders and also cancer," she said.

Esposito and others at the meeting said they would also like to see the landfill closed.

A spokesperson says the Town of Brookhaven is confident that the issues at the school are not related to the landfill.

Department of Environmental Conservation officials say they are collecting data and continuing to monitor the situation.

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