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EPA Continues Sampling for Air Toxics near Vonore, Tenn. Schools

Release Date: 11/09/2010
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov 404-562-8421

(ATLANTA – Nov. 9, 2010) – EPA has completed its analysis of monitoring data collected at two locations near three Tennessee schools as part of an initiative to evaluate levels of toxic pollutants in the outdoor air at schools.

Air samples and meteorological data were collected near Vonore Elementary and Middle Schools in Vonore, Tenn., and at West Greene High School in Mosheim, Tenn. The air outside these schools was tested for diisocyanate compounds, based on information about emissions from sources of air pollution in these areas. No diisocyanates were detected in any of the samples collected.

EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) have determined that additional sampling for diisocyanates near West Greene is not warranted, because diisocyanates were not detected at that school. However, TDEC determined that the likely sources of diisocyanate emissions in the area of the Vonore schools were operating at a significantly reduced capacity during the monitoring period. As a result, the air samples collected during the monitoring period might not reflect conditions during times when production levels are more typical. EPA and TDEC have decided to resample in the Vonore area at a later time, when production at the sources of diisocyanates returns to more normal levels.

EPA has monitored outdoor air quality at 65 schools in 22 states and two tribal areas as part of the Schools Air Toxics Initiative, which was designed to help EPA, the states, and tribes determine whether long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health concerns for children and staff at school. Outdoor air at each of the schools was monitored for at least 60 days; air quality monitors collected a minimum of 10 daily samples during that time. Initial monitoring at all the schools has been completed, and EPA is issuing reports as the data are analyzed. EPA will use information gathered in this initiative to help determine next steps, which could include additional monitoring or other action as appropriate.

Reports about the West Greene and Vonore schools are available at www.epa.gov/schoolair.