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EPA Releases Reports from Air Toxics Monitoring Near Four Schools in Alabama

Release Date: 07/07/2011
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov 404-562-8421


Will Conduct Additional Monitoring in Birmingham area

(ATLANTA –July 7, 2011) The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made available its analysis of air monitoring data collected near four schools in Alabama as part of a national initiative to evaluate levels of toxic pollutants in the outdoor air at schools.

Air samples and meteorological data were collected at the Riggins School, North Birmingham Elementary School, and Lewis Elementary School in Birmingham, and at Tarrant Elementary in Tarrant. The data were collected as part of a short-term screening study of toxic air pollutants outside the schools.

At Tarrant Elementary, concentrations of benzene, arsenic, lead, and benzo(a)pyrene were found to be below levels of concern. As a result, the air toxics monitoring study will not be extended at this school.

Average pollutant concentrations measured in the short-term study at the Birmingham schools were also below the health-based comparison levels. However, due to inconclusive findings related to potential long-term concentrations of benzene at the Riggins monitoring site and manganese at the Lewis site, EPA and the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) have determined that additional monitoring is needed. Monitoring will be conducted for one year at four locations in the community. The additional year of data will help EPA and JCDH better define levels of pollutants in the air and assess whether the pollutants, when considered as a mixture, pose a health concern for people in the community. This study will measure concentrations of multiple air toxics in the North Birmingham area, including the Fairmont, Harriman Park, Collegeville, and North Birmingham communities. The additional monitoring began in June.

EPA has monitored outdoor air quality at 65 schools in 22 states and two tribal areas. Outdoor air at each of the schools was monitored for a minimum of 10 daily samples over at least 60 days. Initial monitoring at all the schools has been completed. Reports are being written as the data are analyzed. EPA has posted data collected at each school on its website at www.epa.gov/schoolair.

The reports for the four schools are available at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/schools.html