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EPA Posts New Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative Data

Release Date: 12/15/2009
Contact Information: Adam Eisele, 303-312-6838

(Denver, Colo. – December 15, 2009) Initial results from air toxics monitoring at one Colorado school are now available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Web site. One school in EPA Region 8’s six states was selected as part of the agency's national Schools Air Toxics Initiative. The initiative, which is monitoring 63 schools in 22 states along with two additional Tribal schools, will help EPA and the states/Tribes learn if long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health concerns for school children and staff.

Today, EPA is posting data for Sunnyside Elementary School located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation near Durango. The Agency monitored volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air around this school that are associated with energy development activities and mobile sources such as cars and trucks.

Sampling at Sunnyside shows that levels of air toxics are below levels of short-term concern. EPA warns against drawing conclusions at this point since the project is designed to show if long-term, not short-term, exposure poses health risks to school children and staff. Once monitoring is complete, the full set of results from all of the schools will be evaluated for potential health concerns from long-term exposure to these pollutants. EPA will post this analysis to the Web once it is complete.

Outdoor air at the schools was monitored for 60 days, and air quality monitors collected at least 10 daily samples during the sampling period. EPA will use this information to help determine next steps, which could include more monitoring, if needed. Results are posted at

To learn more about EPA’s efforts to study outdoor air near schools, visit: