NEXT New England
About This Show
NEXT is a weekly radio show and podcast about New England, one of America’s oldest places, at a time of change. It’s hosted by John Dankosky at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut. Through original reporting and interviews, we ask important questions about the issues we explore: where are we now? How did we get here? And what's next?
Most Recent Episode
Episode 12: Built In
7 days ago
Hartford’s Clark School, closed after PCBs were discovered in the building in December. 2014 The toxic materials were found in new ceiling tiles. (Credit: Ryan Caron King/WNPR)
This week: What we know, and what we don’t about PCBs in New England’s schools. Plus, what we’ve learned about acid rain, climate change and more from 50 years of research in a New Hampshire forest, and what biologists are doing to help animals like bear and moose to move safely around human infrastructure. And finally, a peak into the surprisingly bad-ass world of bird-watching.
Toxic Learning Environment
In Episodes 2 and 3 we heard about the toxic effects of PolyChlorinated Biphenyls, or PCBs, deposited by General Electric in the Housatonic River in Western Massachusetts, and the controversy about whether to remediate downstream.
But in many other places where PCBs were used there’s no mandate to even test for the toxin, even in places where it could likely be affecting children – like schools. PCBs were widely used in caulk around windows and lighting fixtures between 1950 and 1979, when many of our nation’s school buildings were built.
Recent research indicates that as many as 26,000 schools across the county could be contaminated, and this month Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts sounded the alarm with a new report.
Our guests are education reporter David DesRoches, who has covered the issue for WNPR and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting; Dr. Robert Herrick of Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, whose study was cited in Senator Markey’s report; and Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney at the Environmental Working Group.
Flora and Fauna
Look at a map of New England and you’ll see LOTS of forest habitat. But a growing challenge for wildlife is that this habitat is increasingly fractured. As we’ve built up roads and housing developments, crossing between key forest areas– such as from the Adirondacks to the Green Mountains–can be a dangerous trip for a moose or a bear.