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EPA Releases Final Report on Air Toxics Near Jefferson Elementary, Recommends Additional Monitoring in Community

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA156

Chicago (Dec. 21, 2010) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 announced today that the final report based on the school air toxics monitoring data from Jefferson Elementary in Gary, Ind., has been posted on the Agency’s website.

Based on the monitoring results, EPA found that levels of manganese in the outdoor air near the school were slightly above levels of concern for long-term exposure. While inhalation of manganese can affect the nervous system at very high levels, concentrations of manganese near Jefferson Elementary did not reach a level that would be expected to cause health concerns at the school. However, EPA believes additional monitoring is necessary to further investigate manganese concentrations in the surrounding community. As monitoring continues, EPA will work with Indiana Department of Environmental Management to address potential sources of manganese emissions. All other monitored pollutants were below levels of concern.

The report is posted on EPA’s website at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

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.

From Aug. 23 through Dec. 9, 2009, a monitor collected air samples near Jefferson Elementary. Manganese, lead, arsenic, benzene, and benzo(a)pyrene were the pollutants of interest. 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 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 the website throughout the monitoring period.

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

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