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First Results from Air Toxics Monitoring at Idaho School Released Today

Release Date: 12/15/2009
Contact Information: Madonna Narvaez, EPA Air Toxics Team Leader, 206-553-2117, narvaez.madonna@epa.gov: Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov: Julie Simpson, Nez Perce Tribe Air Quality, 208-843-2253, julies@enterprise.nezperce.org

First air monitoring results for Idaho school and new results for four Washington and Oregon schools are now available on the agency’s Web site

(Seattle, Wash. Dec. 15, 2009) The first results from air toxics monitoring at Lapwai High School on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho are now available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site. Also available are new results from the on-going monitoring at four Washington and Oregon schools. Five schools in the Northwest region were selected as part of the agency's national Schools Air Toxics Initiative. This initiative is monitoring 63 schools in 22 states to help EPA, states and tribes 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 at least 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://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/airpage.nsf/Air+Toxics/air_school

The five Idaho, Washington and Oregon schools are:

  • Lapwai High School, Nez Perce Reservation, Lapwai, Idaho (first results available)
  • Concord Elementary in Seattle, Wash. (new results available)
  • St. Helens Elementary in Longview, Wash. (new results available)
  • Toledo Elementary School in Toledo, Oreg. (new results available)
  • Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy in Portland, Oreg. (new results available)

In September, EPA began monitoring outdoor air at Lapwai High School on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho. Monitoring started at the four Washington and Oregon schools in late August. EPA is monitoring for several types of contaminants associated with air pollution from industrial and mobile sources such as cars, trucks and airplanes. Monitoring has been completed at the Seattle, Longview and Portland schools, while monitoring continues at the Toledo and Lapwai schools.

Sampling results at all of the region’s schools currently 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 primarily designed to show if long-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 for each school.

Information on monitoring at schools in the northwest (Region 10) is available at http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/airpage.nsf/Air+Toxics/air_school.