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EPA Completes Monitoring and Analysis at Two Tennessee Schools

Release Date: 09/15/2009
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7849 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency posted air toxics monitoring results and analyses from two Tennessee schools today. In March, EPA announced it would monitor levels of toxics in the air outside 63 schools. These Tennessee schools – Ashland City Elementary School in Ashland City and Lakeview Elementary School in New Johnsonville – are the first to complete the initiative’s monitoring and health analysis stages.

EPA had identified manganese, a metal commonly used in manufacturing, as the pollutant most likely to be of concern at the two Tennessee schools and monitored for manganese at those schools over a two-month period.

At both schools, air quality samples found manganese levels that did not indicate significant health concern for short- or long-term exposures.

In their analysis, EPA experts examined a number of factors, including data from the air quality monitors; information on wind direction and wind speed from meteorological stations located at the schools; data on historical wind and weather patterns in the area; and information about manganese sources in the area. They also examined information about manganese and health effects associated with long-term exposure.

EPA today also posted preliminary data from monitoring at Charles Russell Elementary, Crabbe and Hatcher schools, all in Ashland, Ky.; Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Miss; and Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston, S.C. It is too soon to draw conclusions from the preliminary data. Once monitoring is complete at these schools, EPA will analyze the full set of results to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants.

Monitoring is now under way at the majority of the rest of the 63 schools. EPA and states have identified these 63 schools as priorities for the initiative, which is designed to help determine whether long-term exposure to toxics in the outdoor air poses health concerns for schoolchildren and staff. State and local agencies are taking periodic samples of the outdoor air at the schools over a period of 60 days. EPA will use the monitoring results to help determine next steps, which could include additional monitoring or enforcement action where appropriate.

EPA is posting results of the air quality monitoring on its Web site at: