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EPA Releases Final Report on Toxic Air Pollution Near Manhattan I.S. 143 School Finds Pollutants Below Levels of Concern

Release Date: 05/19/2011
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that a two-month study of toxic air pollution outside Intermediate School 143, a Manhattan, New York middle school at 511 West 182nd Street, did not find levels of significant concern. During April and May 2010, EPA monitored for 1,3-butadiene and benzene, which are air pollutants commonly associated with cars, trucks, buses and other urban pollution sources. EPA continues its work to reduce levels of these and other toxic air pollutants by regulating air pollution from cars, buses and trucks, and industrial facilities. The Agency recently proposed new standards for toxic air pollutants from power plants.

The air monitoring at I.S. 143 was part of a national monitoring program to help EPA and state environmental agencies and the public understand whether long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health risks to children and staff at schools. Monitoring was done at 63 schools in 22 states. To keep the community informed, EPA posted air sampling results on its website throughout the monitoring period.

EPA selected the Manhattan school for monitoring because it is representative of schools located in densely populated urban areas with traffic and emissions from industrial sources. I.S. 143 is located near two interstate highways and other roads, which are sources of air toxic emissions. Computer models were used to determine which air toxics might be present at elevated levels in the outdoor air near the school. These models estimated that elevated levels of pollutants such as 1,3-butadiene and benzene from mobile sources including cars, trucks and buses, could be present in the air around the school. The final results of the study found the air pollutants below levels of concern.

EPA remains concerned about mobile source emissions and continues to work to reduce those emissions across the country through national rules and by providing information and recommendations on ways to reduce emissions in local areas. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is also engaged in a range of programs to reduce air toxics in New York City and throughout the state.

In addition to I.S. 143 in NYC, the Olean Middle School in N.Y. was included in the monitoring study. Final monitoring results for the Olean School were released last November. The sampling results for all 63 schools participating in the study will also be posted on the Agency’s website as they become available.

The final report on air toxics monitoring at I.S. 143 is now posted on the Agency’s website at: www.epa.gov/schoolair/schools.html.

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