MALIBU ( — A community task force met for the first time Thursday to help guide the investigation into whether environmental conditions at Malibu High School made dozens of teachers sick.

The task force comprised of a dozen teachers, parents and students met with the head of the Phylmar Group, an environmental safety firm hired to conduct tests after educators reported health problems.

In an October letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent, three teachers claimed to have been diagnosed with stage one thyroid cancer within the last six months. The document states that three others were also recently treated for thyroid problems.

Rashes, migraines, respiratory illnesses and unexplained hair loss have also been reported.

“The health and safety of all occupants of our facilities is paramount and our action plan will be both thorough and transparent in resolving the issues identified,” Superintendent Sandra Lyon said.

Teachers allege their health was compromised in 2011 when the district hired contractors to cart 1,017 cubic yards of dirt contaminated by carcinogenic PCBs, lead and pesticides, away from the campus.

Preliminary mold tests on classrooms recently suggested that levels were normal to those found outdoors.

As the investigation into conditions continues, the school has moved some classes to a nearby elementary school and church.

A number of parents have also opted to enroll their children in a home-study program.

The task force was scheduled to meet behind closed doors from 10 a.m. to noon. A district statement is expected sometime thereafter.


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