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EPA RELEASES FIRST PRELIMINARY SETS OF SCHOOLS MONITORING DATA First sets of data at two Tennessee schools now available online, more to come

Release Date: 06/22/2009
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7849 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – EPA has posted the first preliminary sets of air toxics monitoring data from two Tennessee schools as the agency and states continue their outdoor air monitoring effort at 62 total schools in 22 states. EPA identified manganese, a metal commonly used in manufacturing, as the pollutant most likely to be of concern at the two schools, based on the best available information about emissions and sources of pollution in the area.

EPA is working with Tennessee state officials to continue monitoring the outdoor air at Ashland City Elementary School in Ashland City and Lakeview Elementary School in New Johnsonville. The two Tennessee schools were the first to begin monitoring because EPA monitors were readily available in the area. The preliminary results show that levels of the metal manganese are well below levels of short-term concern. However, 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 risks to school children and staff.

Once monitoring is complete at the two Tennessee schools, the full set of results will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term manganese exposure. This analysis will be released approximately six weeks after monitoring at the two schools is complete. The agency and states will follow a similar schedule and process for each of the additional 60 schools on the list as their data becomes available later this summer and fall.

Monitors for the remaining schools across the country have been purchased and are being calibrated and deployed at schools that EPA and states have identified as priorities. Monitoring will be phased in at those schools over the summer, and preliminary data will be posted online as it becomes available.

A total of 62 schools will be monitored as part of the agency’s Schools Air Toxics Initiative, designed to help EPA and states determine whether long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health concerns for children and staff at school. Outdoor air at each of the schools will be monitored for 60 days; air quality monitors will take a minimum of 10 daily samples during that time.

EPA will use information gathered in this initiative to help determine next steps, which could include additional monitoring or enforcement action where appropriate.

More information on EPA’s Schools Air Toxics Initiative: