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EPA releases data for air toxics monitoring at three West Virginia schools

Release Date: 10/29/2009
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (October 29, 2009) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released initial data from air toxics monitoring outside Follansbee Middle School, Cabell County Career Technology Center, and Neale Elementary School.

EPA selected these three schools in Follansbee, Huntington, and Vienna, W.Va. respectively, as a part of the 63 schools in 22 states nationwide for air toxics monitoring.

EPA and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection have been using air toxics monitors outside the school to collect data since August. At these three West Virginia schools, EPA is looking at metals in PM10. Additionally, at Follansbee Middle School, the agencies will also look at polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds. These are the pollutants most likely to be of concern at the schools, based on the best available information about emissions and sources of pollution in these areas.

The initial data at these schools show the monitored air toxics are below levels of short-term health concerns. EPA scientists caution against drawing conclusions at the point as the study is designed to determine whether 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 analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants. As monitoring continues into the fall, EPA will post the data on its schools air toxics website at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

EPA will post the outdoor air monitoring data from all 63 schools from across the country as it becomes available. EPA will use the data from this initiative to help determine next steps, which could include additional monitoring or enforcement action.

Other schools being monitored in the mid-Atlantic Region are Kreutz Creek Elementary, Hallam, Pa.; Riverside Elementary, Reading, Pa.; Clairton Educational Center, Clairton, Pa.; South Allegheny Middle/High School, McKeesport, Pa.; Sto-Rox Elementary, McKees Rocks, Pa.; and the Central Virginia Training Center, Madison Heights, Va.