EPA Continues Study on Air Quality Near Schools


The EPA is continuing its study of assessing the outdoor air near schools for toxic contaminants.  This study is based upon several factors, including: results from an EPA computer modeling analysis, the mix of pollution sources near the schools, results from an analysis conducted for a recent newspaper series on air toxics at schools, and information from state and local air pollution agencies (See’s original post on the EPA Study on Outdoor Air Near Schools).

Some of the chemicals that will be monitored, include:

  • Carbonyls
  • Diisocyanates
  • Metals
  • PAH’s
  • VOC’s
  • Hexavalent Chromium, and
  • 4,4-methylenedianiline

Data has started to role in on most of the schools included in the study and can be found HERE

According to the EPA:

  • Monitoring at the schools will be phased in over the next three months. In some states, monitoring equipment is readily available and can be quickly moved to the schools to be monitored. EPA will purchase equipment for others.
  • The monitors will measure two types of pollutants in the outdoor air at the priority schools: pollutants that are in gas form, such as benzene; and pollutants that are in particle form, including metals such as hexavalent chromium, manganese or lead. The pollutants monitored will vary by school. EPA will identify pollutants to measure at each school based on the best available information about the pollution sources in the area. EPA and states also will install equipment to measure wind speed and direction at each school during the monitoring.
  • Monitors will be in place at each school for 60 days to provide a snapshot of monitored toxic pollutants in the outdoor air. The monitors will sample air quality on 10 different days during that time. The samples will be analyzed by the laboratories EPA uses for air quality analysis. To ensure the data is sound, EPA and state air agencies will check monitors to be sure they are operating correctly, inspect the laboratories, and review the data for any anomalies.

Source: EPA

Chemical Concentrations Near Schools

Per the USA Today report published in December 2008

EPA modeling and subsequent air monitoring revealed the presence of carcinogens and heavy metals in close proximity to schools around the country.  “It is meant as ‘a screening tool. It isn’t an in-depth analysis,’ says Nick Bouwes, who helped create the model for EPA” and should not be used to estimate risk.  It should be noted that the data represents air quality outside of the schools and only thorough sampling inside the schools can document the indoor air quality.

Read more HERE