It turns out the elementary school I attended way back when is contaminated with PCBs. Apparently earlier this year, they found some PCBs and were going to remediate them but then they found more and are waiting for test results. It has been shut down for a week while they figure out what to do.
I did attend the school for six years as did thousands of other children in the neighborhood. It was a new school when I went there. Now it is one of the oldest schools in town and is due for renovation in the coming years I believe.
So I did a little research and found out that PCBs are pretty darn nasty and have been banned everywhere. There is a cancer link to them as well:
A few studies of workers indicate that PCBs were associated with specific kinds of cancer in humans, such as cancer of the liver and biliary tract. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been shown to mimic the action of oestrogen in breast cancer cells and can enhance breast carcinogenesis. Rats that ate food containing high levels of PCBs for two years developed liver cancer. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has concluded that PCBs may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogens. The EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have determined that PCBs are probably carcinogenic to humans. PCBs are also classified as probable human carcinogens by the National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Recent research by the National Toxicology Program has confirmed that PCB126 (Technical Report 520) and a binary mixture of PCB126 and PCB153 (Technical Report 531) are carcinogens.
Hmmm... could this be what caused my breast cancer? Well they don't know for sure. I am sure that I have been exposed to numerous other carcinogens in my lifetime but this is just another reason to feel all warm and fuzzy.
But I can't go through life thinking of the 'coulda, shoulda, woulda' things that I did or didn't do. Basically we are exposed to carcinogens throughout our lives. We eat and drink the good things and the bad things. We get sun tans and sun burns. We are exposed to cigarette smoke even if we don't smoke. Just because this school now has PCBs doesn't mean much in relation to all the other exposures I have had. All we can do is try to do what we can to minimize exposure to the bad things and not regret what has happened.