PS 51 forced to move after harmful chemical found in building


Unacceptable levels of the dangerous chemical trichloroethylene have been found inside the Bronx New School, PS 51, and the school will be forced to move to a new location before it opens next month, the Department of Education confirmed Friday.

Trichloroethylene is an industrial solvent that can enter air or water. Exposure can result in dizziness, headaches, confusion, euphoria, facial numbness, weakness, developmental issues and cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

PS 51, located at 3200 Jerome Ave., is currently housed in a leased space. As part of the lease renewal process, officials recently inspected the building, where they found TCE levels that exceed state guidelines.

According to a letter sent out to PS 51 parents and staff and obtained by The Press, “ … there are no immediate medical concerns for students and staff.”

“Effective immediately, X051 will no longer be located at its current location. We understand this news may be unsettling; however, the safety, security, and well-being of our students, staff and community at large is our primary concern. The Department of Education is working diligently with local officials and representatives from the New York City School Construction Authority to find an appropriate learning environment for our students as soon as possible. We will update you when an alternate location is identified,” the letter reads, in part.

PS 51 officials will hold a meeting in the current weeks to address concerns, according to the letter.

For updates and health questions, parents, staff and students are being asked to call 212-788-4290.  

Nikki Dowling