Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases

 

Air toxics near Lapwai High School below levels of concern

Release Date: 06/01/2011
Contact Information: Madonna Narvaez, EPA Air Toxics Team, 206-553-2117, narvaez.madonna@epa.gov, Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

(Seattle - June 1, 2011) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final report on analysis of air toxics monitoring data near Lapwai High School in Lapwai, Idaho. EPA found that concentrations of air toxics measured near the school are below the levels of concern associated with health problems from either short- or long-term exposures.  The report is posted at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

Monitoring results indicated that vehicle emissions are contributing to the pollutants detected at the school. EPA remains concerned about emissions from sources of air toxics and continues working to reduce those emissions across the country, through national rules and by providing information and suggestions to assist with reductions in local areas.

The Nez Perce Tribe Air Quality Program has identified two areas for further study. The first is to monitor during warm summer months using real-time air toxics monitoring to find sources that could be contributing to elevated summer air toxics concentrations. The second is to measure concentrations during weather inversion events that trap air pollutants to better understand how air toxics move and change in the atmosphere.

The Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative monitored outdoor air at 63 schools in 22 states. The study was designed to help EPA and state and tribal environmental agencies understand whether long-term exposure to air toxics poses health concerns for children and staff at the schools.

In coordination with the Nez Perce Tribe, EPA selected Lapwai High School for monitoring because it is located near a highway that is a source of air toxics emissions.  Cars, other motor vehicles and off-road machinery can be sources of acetaldehyde, benzene and 1,3-butadiene, which were the key pollutants of interest.

From September 16, 2009 through December 9, 2009, a monitor collected air samples near the school. During the monitoring period, EPA evaluated the concentrations to see if there was an issue with short-term exposures to acetaldehyde and other air toxics. Once the monitoring was complete, EPA analyzed the results to see if there was a concern from long-term exposures. In order to keep the community informed, EPA posted individual air sample results on its website throughout the monitoring period.

A summary of the final report on analysis of air toxics monitoring data near Lapwai High School is at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/LapwaiHigh.html.

The full technical report is at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/pdfs/LapwaiTechReport.pdf.

Information about the Nez Perce Tribe Air Quality Program can be found at: http://www.nezperce.org/Official/Air%20Quality/airquality.htm.

Other schools monitored in EPA Region 10 were: Concord Elementary in Seattle, Washington; St. Helens Elementary School in Longview, Washington; Toledo Elementary School in Toledo, Oregon and Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy in Portland, Oregon. Information about monitoring at these schools can be found at www.epa.gov/schoolair.

Information from EPA about sources of air toxics emissions can be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/toxics.htm.

Find out how air toxics affect your health and the environment at:
http://www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/newtoxics.html.