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EPA Posts New Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative Data

Release Date: 10/29/2009
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The first results from ongoing air toxics monitoring at two New Jersey schools and one New York school are now available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Web site. A total of four schools in EPA’s Region 2 were selected as part of the agency's national Schools Air Toxics Initiative. The initiative, which is monitoring 63 schools in 22 states, will help EPA and the states learn if long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health concerns for school children and staff.

Outdoor air at the schools is being monitored for 60 days, and air quality monitors will collect at least 10 daily samples during the sampling period. EPA will use this information to help determine next steps, which could include more monitoring, if needed. Results are posted at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

Today, EPA is posting data for Olean Middle School in Olean, New York, Mabel Homes Middle School in Elizabeth, N.J. and Paulsboro High School in Paulsboro, N.J. The fourth school, IS 143 in Manhattan, New York, had its first data posted previously and it is also available at the web site. The Agency is monitoring the air around these schools for several contaminants associated with industrial and mobile sources such as cars, trucks and airplanes.

Early sampling at all the schools show that levels of air toxics are below levels of short-term concern. EPA scientists warn against drawing conclusions at this point since the project is designed to show if long-term, not short-term, exposure poses health risks to school children and staff. Once monitoring is complete, the full set of results from all of the schools will be evaluated for potential health concerns from long-term exposure to these pollutants. EPA will post this analysis to the Web once it is complete.

To learn more about EPA’s efforts to study outdoor air near schools, visit: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

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