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EPA Region 6 Releases Air Monitoring Data from Five Texas Schools

Release Date: 12/15/2009
Contact Information: Dave Bary at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – December 15, 2009) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 today announced the results of air toxics monitoring data from five Texas schools has been posted on the agency’s Web site. The schools are IC Evans Elementary School, Burkburnett, Texas; Lamkin Elementary School, Cypress, Texas; NW Harllee Elementary School, Dallas, Texas; and San Jacinto Elementary/Deer Park Junior High School, Deer Park, Texas. Air toxics monitoring data from Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana, was posted on the agency’s Web site October 29, 2009.

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

The data is posted at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/schools.html

EPA Region 6 is currently monitoring at eight schools in the region that were selected as part of the initiative. The results of air toxics monitoring data show that levels of hazardous air pollutants at the five Texas schools are well below levels of short-term concern. The first results showed that levels of hazardous air pollutants at Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary School were also well below levels of short-term concern. EPA scientists warn against drawing conclusions at this point as the study is designed to determine whether long-term, exposure poses health concerns for children and staff. Once monitoring is complete, the full set of results from all of the schools will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure of hazardous air pollutants. EPA will post this analysis to the Web once it is complete.

Outdoor air at each of the schools will be monitored for approximately 60 days, and air quality monitors will take a minimum of ten daily samples during the sampling period.

EPA is extending monitoring at a number of schools across the country for a group of pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A malfunction in monitoring equipment at those schools requires EPA and its state and local partners to take additional VOC samples to ensure that the monitors provide an accurate picture of VOC levels in the outdoor air. The schools affected in EPA Region 6 are NW Harllee Elementary School in Dallas and San Jacinto Elementary/Deer Park Junior High School in Deer Park.

Other schools being monitored in EPA Region 6 are Temple Elementary School, Diboll, Texas, and Young Scholars Academy, Houston, Texas. Air Toxics monitoring data for these two schools will be available at a later date.

More about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/dec2009.html.


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