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U.S. EPA - no hexavalent chromium detected at Cupertino School

Release Date: 08/05/2009
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, Cell (213) 798 1404, arcaute.francisco@epa.gov

For Immediate Release: August 5, 2009, Contact: Francisco Arcaute, Cell (213) 798-1404, arcaute.francisco@epa.gov

U.S. EPA - no hexavalent chromium detected at Cupertino School
Agency releases first preliminary set of air monitoring data for Stevens Creek Elementary

SAN FRANCISCO – As part of its first round of air monitoring studies at Stevens Creek Elementary School in Cupertino, Calif., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that no hexavalent chromium was detected in the first two samples analyzed.

Stevens Creek Elementary School was selected for monitoring under the EPA’s new School Monitoring Initiative to see if hexavalent chromium (also called chromium VI) is present in elevated levels in the air.

The EPA identified hexavalent chromium as a pollutant of potential concern in the area because recent studies have raised concerns about the potential for elevated levels of hexavalent chromium near some cement plants. Stevens Creek Elementary School is located a little over a mile away from a cement plant.

Based on the August 4, Stevens Creek Elementary School air monitoring results, the EPA reports the following key points:

No hexavalent chromium – No hexavalent chromium was detected in the first two samples. EPA scientists caution that no conclusions can be drawn until all samples have been taken and analyzed along with important information about wind patterns and plant operations on the days samples were taken.

On first sample date, cement kiln not operating – On the day the first sample was taken, the cement kiln was not operating. The first sample at Stevens Creek Elementary School is a special, extra sample that is in addition to the routine 60 days of sampling established for EPA’s School Monitoring Initiative. The agency felt it would be valuable to sample air at Stevens Creek Elementary School while the kiln was not operating to understand how the kiln might affect the monitoring results.

Next Steps – Monitoring will continue through the month of August. Once monitoring is complete at Stevens Creek Elementary School, the full set of results will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to short-term and long-term exposure to hexavalent chromium. As part of that analysis we will evaluate any information we have on facility operations, wind patterns, and other relevant data.

The EPA, along with state and local partners, continue their outdoor air monitoring effort at 61 other schools across the country. Monitoring at three other California schools, all in Southern California, will begin this week. For more information on EPA’s Schools Air Toxics Initiative, including frequently asked questions on the Cupertino results, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/schools-monitor/.
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