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EPA Releases Final Report on Air Toxics Near Warren Elementary, The Ohio Valley Educational Service Center, and Neale Elementary Recommends Additional Monitoring

Release Date: 12/21/2010
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon (EPA Region 5), 312-353-6218, cannon.phillippa@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA157

Chicago (Dec. 17 2010) ) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the report on air toxics monitoring at Warren Elementary, and the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center in Marietta, Ohio, and Neale Elementary in Vienna, West Virginia has been posted on the Agency’s website.

EPA’s analysis of outdoor air quality monitoring conducted at the school indicated manganese levels were elevated. These findings do not indicate an immediate health concern; however, exposure to high levels of manganese over a long period of time can affect the nervous system. EPA and Ohio EPA will conduct additional monitoring for manganese in Marietta and continue working to address the elevated manganese concentrations in the community.

EPA is currently reviewing the federal air toxics rules that apply to facilities like Eramet Marietta Inc. (Eramet), a local metallurgical manufacturing facility, to ensure that they protect public health as required by law. The agency anticipates issuing a proposal related to this review in October 2011. Additionally, Eramet has reported that they are installing new control equipment that is expected to reduce emissions of particulate matter. Because manganese can be emitted as a particle, these changes may result in decreased manganese levels in the air at the school sites and in the surrounding community.

EPA, Ohio EPA , and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection monitored the air outside Warren Elementary and The Ohio Valley Educational Service Center in Marietta, Ohio and Neale Elementary in Vienna, W. Va., from Aug. 17 through Nov. 15, 2009. During the monitoring period, EPA evaluated the concentrations to see if there was an issue with short-term exposures to manganese and other air toxics. Once the monitoring was complete, EPA analyzed the results, along with information on wind speed and direction, to see if there was a concern from long-term exposures. That analysis indicated the need for additional monitoring to further investigate manganese concentrations in the community. All other monitored pollutants were below levels of concern.

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

Other schools monitored in EPA Region 5 were St. Josaphat School, Chicago, Ill.; Abraham Lincoln Elementary, East Chicago, Ind.; Lincoln Elementary School, Warsaw, Ind.; Jefferson Elementary School, Gary, Ind.; Pittsboro Elementary School, Pittsboro, Ind.; Spain Elementary, Detroit, Mich.; Lincoln Park Elementary School, Muskegon, Mich.; Minnesota International Middle Charter School, Minneapolis, Minn.; Elm Street Elementary School, Wauseon, Ohio; Life Skills of Trumbull County and the Academy of Arts and Humanities, Warren, Ohio; East Elementary in East Liverpool, Ohio; and Whitwell Elementary School, Ironton, Ohio.

EPA’s report is posted on the School Air Toxics website at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

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