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Early Results from Air Toxics Monitoring at Washington and Oregon Schools Released Today

Release Date: 10/29/2009
Contact Information: Madonna Narvaez, Air Toxics Team Leader, 206-553-2117 / narvaez.madonna@epa.gov Suzanne Skadowski, Public Affairs, 206-553-6689 / skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

First air monitoring results at four Washington and Oregon schools are now available on the agency’s Web site.

(Seattle, Wash. October 29, 2009) The first results from ongoing air toxics monitoring at four Washington and Oregon schools are now available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site. Several schools in the Northwest region were selected as part of the agency's national Schools Air Toxics Initiative. The initiative, which is monitoring 63 schools in 22 states, will help EPA and the states learn if long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health concerns for school children and staff.


Outdoor air at the schools is being monitored for 60 days, and air quality monitors will collect at least 10 daily samples during the sampling period. EPA will use this information to help determine next steps, which could include more monitoring, if needed. Results are posted at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/. More information about the schools in Region 10 is available at http://www.epa.gov/region10/air/schools.html

WASHINGTON, OREGON AND TRIBAL SCHOOLS
The five Washington, Oregon and Tribal schools are:

  • Concord Elementary in Seattle, Wash.
  • St. Helens Elementary in Longview, Wash.
  • Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy in Portland, Ore.
  • Toledo Elementary School in Toledo, Ore.
  • Lapwai High School, Nez Perce Reservation, Idaho (results expected in November)

EPA began monitoring the air around these schools in late August for several contaminants associated with industrial and mobile sources such as cars, trucks and airplanes). In September, EPA began monitoring at Lapwai High School on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho, and expects to release the first results in November.

Early sampling at these schools show that levels of air toxics are below levels of short-term concern. EPA scientists warn against drawing conclusions at this point since the project is designed to show if 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 evaluated for potential health concerns from long-term exposure to these pollutants. EPA will post this analysis to the Web once it is complete.

Information on monitoring at schools in the northwest (Region 10) is available at http://www.epa.gov/region10/air/schools.html