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EPA: Air Monitoring at Schools

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Oct 6, 2009 6:10:38 AM

Outdoor Air Sampling Program at Selected Schools Around the Country

Lee Bishop - CIH

For the last several months, the United States Environmental Protection Association has been involved in evaluating outdoor air for potential air toxics at 63 elementary, middle and high schools in 22 states across the country. Citing that the EPA is responsible for protecting “the American public where they live, work and play – and that certainly includes protecting schoolchildren where they learn”, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson kicked-off the program which began at the end of March 2009.

The program was developed after the EPA began reviewing air modeling results of potential pollution sources near schools, a newspaper series regarding air toxics at schools, and information from state and local air pollution control agencies.

The goal of the program is to collect vapor and particulate air samples around selected schools, analyze the samples for potential air pollutants, report the chemicals and levels found, evaluate intervention possibilities, and take action to reduce the types and amounts of pollutants being released around schools.

The Clean Air Act lists 187 individual chemicals as agents that can affect the public’s health if present at sufficiently high amounts. And, although the amount of air toxics has decreased by 40% between 1990 and 2005, some schools are located in areas which may include a number of potentially toxic industries, are nearby highways, or are subject to weather-related conditions which may concentrate toxic materials.

By the end of this summer, the evaluation of the air samples at 11 schools had been completed and posted to the website

Topics: indoor air quality, EPA, Hazardous Waste Management, Air Sampling, environmental air monitoring, Public Safety, Clean Air Act

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