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No Recess for School Chemicals

Release Date: 03/23/2007
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - March 23, 2007) In a national kickoff, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign to help schools prevent chemical accidents. Under this program, EPA, working with the U.S. Department of Education and industry, will help schools safely manage chemicals. Across the country, EPA estimates that about 33,000 middle and high schools have laboratory and other chemicals that could cause accidents and injure students.

"We're ready to help schools take practical steps to prevent accidents, spills, and fires. This program is not only good for our schools but also can keep our environment safe and clean for generations to come," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

The Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign is an effort to help schools safely manage their chemicals and avoid costly and possibly dangerous accidents. Through the campaign, schools are connected with local chemical management experts and a web-based toolkit.

"Our schools must provide safe, healthy environments for students to learn and fully reach their potential," Deborah Price, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, said. "We're pleased to work with the EPA to address this issue and better ensure the well-being of our children and the safety of our schools."

At an event today, EPA and the Department of Education recognized Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., and Arlington Public Schools for their exemplary work on implementing a responsible chemical management program. EPA also recognized the program charter partners, including the American Chemistry Council, the Synthetic and Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition for their commitment to help schools manage chemicals better.

The Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign aims to ensure that all schools are free from hazards associated with mismanaged chemicals. The campaign gives K-12 schools information and tools to responsibly manage chemicals and its partners offer a broad range of services from conducting chemical inventories to training school personnel in responsible chemical management.

Information about Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign: epa.gov/sc3