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[Susan notes: Joseph Mugivan is a pioneer in researching and advocating for air quality testing in schools.]

Published in The Chief: Civil Employees Weekly

To the editor

I read with interest your article where the Department of Investigation stopped short of exposing the city to liability in an accidental death of a city worker, a single mother who died in the line of duty in a housing project.

I too experienced difficulty for seven years with the DOI, even investigating my complaints about my school, which was built on a notorious toxic site in Queens, despite the Speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn presenting it under the recent Teacher Whistle-Blower Law, per a letter from then-Council Member de Blasio.

Under the new administration, after a six-month investigation, it has yet to be investigated under "that statute" designed to protect children. I had discovered that the vapor extraction system under the school had been turned off, and I was terminated for attempting to get an air quality report under the protection of OSHA, before returning to the site that was making me and the children ill.

Nurse Murphy said that my students were the "neediest" in the school. The NYC DOI indicated that I should have returned to the school without any air quality testing inspection of the known toxins beneath the site. The city spent $8 million to rehabilitate that site, subsequent to my complaint, which ended my career in education. The state limited the ability to do air-quality testing in schools with numerous other protocols beginning in 1997.

There are numerous such sites around the city and it is impossible to obtain information regarding soils and vapor-intrusion systems even through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

Joseph Mugivan, retired Teacher, Vesta Energy Consulting

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