Thursday, October 29, 2009
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 announced today that the first set of air toxics monitoring data from Colvin Elementary School in Wichita, Kan., has been posted on the agency's website.
The Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative, which is monitoring 63 schools in 22 states, is designed to help EPA and state environmental agencies understand potential risks from toxics in the outdoor air and whether this exposure poses health concerns for children and staff at the schools, as well as residents in the surrounding community.
The data is posted at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/schools.html.
Based on the best available information about emissions and sources of pollution in the area, the pollutant most likely to be of concern at Colvin Elementary School is chromium, a metal commonly used in manufacturing. The metal chromium is used for making steel, chrome plating, dyes and pigments, leather tanning and wood preserving.
Region 7 is currently monitoring air at two schools in the region that were selected as part of the initiative. The first results show that levels of the key hazardous air pollutants at Colvin Elementary are 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, not short-term, exposure poses health concerns for school 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. EPA will post this analysis to the Web once it is complete.
Outdoor air at each of the schools is being monitored for 60 days, and air-quality monitors will take a minimum of 10 daily samples during the sampling period. EPA will use the information gathered in the initiative to help determine next steps.
Roland-Story High School in Story City, Iowa, is the only other school being monitored in the four states and nine tribal nations served by EPA Region 7.