Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber's children, Presley and Kaia, should have started classes this week. Instead, the model and the Casamigos Tequila co-owner have taken their kids out of Malibu High School.
After routine soil tests found elevated levels of PCBs in window caulking, Crawford spoke with NBC News special correspondent Maria Shriver in a pre-taped Today interview Tuesday. The chemicals can cause cancer and hurt people's immune/reproductive systems. "I don't feel 100 percent safe," Crawford said.
The school tested 10 random classrooms for PCBs, and four were found to be over the federal limit. The school plans to remove caulk in those four classrooms and periodically monitor for air and dust. So far, tests show no elevated levels of PCBS. "I'm very frustrated and I'm very disappointed at the way this has been handled," Crawford said, adding, "The problem is, for me, that they haven't tested the source."
"I think that air testing and water testing are a great piece of the puzzle," said Crawford, who earned a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University before she pursuing a modeling career in the '80s. "Unless they're testing every day, how do I know that every day it's safe for my kid?"
PCB levels can vary week to week, depending on conditions.
At a rally last week, Crawford offered to fund the PCB testing using her own money. "I look 10 years down the line. What if my kid, God forbid, had a problem?" asked Crawford, her eyes welling with tears. "How could I live with myself if I knew that it was a possibility and I still sent them to school there?"
Malibu High School, meanwhile, said that ensuring its students' safety and healthy is its "first priority," adding, "Using federal EPA standards, our schools are safe for students and employees." The EPA agrees.
"This is not a Malibu issue," said Crawford. "This is really an issue in a lot of older schools."
"I just think the laws need to be changed," she argued.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)