PHILADELPHIA - The new school year in Philadelphia has seemingly been overwhelmed by the discovery of asbestos, a substance linked with cancer, in several of its many aging structures.
On the Drexel campus Friday legislators and health advocates displayed images from inside city schools and called the buildings, and others in rural areas, toxic.
"We are sending children and their teachers, and everyone else who works in those schools to toxic environments," Senator Vincent Hughes said.
Hughes, a veteran of the state senate from Philadelphia, wants millions of dollars sitting in state accounts like the “underground tank investment fund," to be pulled out and used to fix crumbling class rooms.
Hughes and his supporters have called for a December show-of-force rally in the State Capitol, and ask how many teachers must be stricken with asbestos-related illnesses before something is done.
Hughes says pictures of water stained ceilings, walls of pealing paint and pooling water are inside Philadelphia's Randolph Technical High School.
Advocates say the conditions are a health threat to children now and in the future.
"It’s as if someone has hit the dimmer switch and is undermining the potential of our children," Dr. George Dalembert said.