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School Air Toxics Monitoring Program samples air at 14 schools in the Southeast. Initial data for Vonore Elementary and Middle School and West Greene High School released today.

Release Date: 12/15/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

School Air Toxics Monitoring Program samples air at 14 schools in the Southeast. Initial data for Vonore Elementary and Middle School and West Greene High School released today.

(ATLANTA – Dec. 15, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 announced today that it is posting initial results of air sampling outside three schools in Tennessee that were selected as part of EPA's Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative. Monitoring data from Vonore Elementary and Middle Schools and from West Greene High School were posted on the EPA's Web site today at
http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/schools.html.

The key pollutants of concern at these schools are diisocyanates, which are used to produce polyurethane products. The preliminary results show that levels of diisocyanates at these three schools are below levels of short-term concern. The full set of results from the schools is being analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants. EPA will then post the results of the analyses to the Web.

The initiative, which is monitoring the air outside 63 schools in 22 states, is designed to help EPA and the state and local air pollution programs evaluate whether long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air might pose health concerns for children and staff at the schools. Outdoor air at each of the schools is being monitored for at least 60 days, and air quality monitors will take a minimum of 10 samples during these sampling periods. EPA will use the information gathered in the initiative to help determine next steps, which could include additional monitoring or enforcement action where appropriate. Monitoring concluded in June at two other schools in Tennessee (Ashland City and Lakeview Elementary Schools) and those reports have been posted to the EPA website http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/schools.html.

Other schools where the air has been monitored in the Southeast include the Crabbe, Hatcher, and Charles Russell Schools in Ashland, Ky.; Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Miss.; Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston, S.C.; Ashland City Elementary School in Ashland City and Lakeview Elementary in New Johnsonville, Tenn.; and the North Birmingham, Riggins, Lewis, and Tarrant Elementary Schools in or near Birmingham, Ala.


EPA is extending monitoring at a number of schools across the country for a group of pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A malfunction in monitoring equipment at those schools caused some VOC samples to become contaminated. EPA and its state and local partners will take additional samples to ensure that the monitors provide an accurate picture of VOC levels in the outdoor air. Schools in Region 4 where additional samples will be taken include Crabbe, Hatcher, and Charles Russell Schools in Ashland, Ky.; Riggins Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala.; and Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston, S.C..