Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools

Kreutz Creek Valley Elementary School - Hallam, PA

Results and Analysis of EPA’s monitoring

EPA selected this school for monitoring because it is located near a metal stamping facility that is a source of air toxics emissions. Computer models were used to determine which air toxics may be present at elevated levels in the outdoor air near the school. These models showed that hexavalent chromium could be present in the air around the school and prompted EPA to test to see if the levels present may be of concern.

Primary Findings Levels of hexavalent chromium in the air at the school are below levels of concern for short-term and long-term exposure. 
Pollutants Monitored Hexavalent chromium. Inhalation of hexavalent chromium at high levels can damage the respiratory system and cause cancer.
Next Steps EPA will not extend air toxics monitoring at Kreutz Creek Valley Elementary School at this time because levels of hexavalent chromium measured in the air at the school during the monitoring period were well below levels of concern for long-term exposure. 

EPA remains concerned about emissions from sources of air toxics and continues to work to reduce those emissions across the country, through national rules and by providing information and suggestions to assist with reductions in local areas.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) will continue to oversee industrial facilities in the area through Title V air permits and other programs.

Top of page

Summary of Study Approach and Findings


  • A monitor collected air samples from July 30, 2009 through October 28, 2009 at the Kreutz Creek Valley Elementary School in Hallam, Pennsylvania.  Hexavalent chromium was the pollutant of interest (“key pollutant”). 
  • We posted individual air sample results  on this website throughout the monitoring period to keep your community informed during the monitoring period.   
  • During the monitoring period, we evaluated the monitored concentrations to see if there was a concern from short-term exposures (e.g., several weeks).
  • When the monitoring was complete, we analyzed the results to see if there was a concern from long-term exposures (over a lifetime).
  • Also, when the monitoring was complete, we evaluated all the air samples from the on-site monitor. We also evaluated information on wind speed and wind direction from a weather monitor at the school, along with historical weather information and operations information from the nearby metal stamping facility.


  • Our analysis found that levels of hexavalent chromium in the air at the school are below levels of concern for long-term exposure.
  • Our analysis indicates that hexavalent chromium concentrations in the air near the school do not appear to be influenced by a nearby industrial facility.
  • The process to identify schools for monitoring relied on emissions estimates and other information.  Ambient air monitoring at the school allowed measurement of what was actually in the air.
  • The most recently available chromium emissions estimates for the nearby facility from the 2009 EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) arean order of magnitude lower than the estimates used to identify this school for monitoring.  The facility had overestimated their emissions for several years.
  • Because the analysis shows hexavalent chromium levels are below levels of concern, EPA will not extend air toxics monitoring at Kreutz Creek Valley Elementary School.
  • Click here for additional information

Top of page

How We Analyzed the Information We Collected at this School

The analysis considered whether the information collected at the school might raise concerns for the health of children or adults at the school. We looked at the following types of information:

  • Measured hexavalent chromium concentrations
  • Information on hexavalent chromium
  • Measured wind direction and wind speed at the school
  • Information about a potential nearby source of hexavalent chromium emissions

Analysis of Measured Hexavalent Chromium Concentrations:

Of the 13 samples taken, hexavalent chromium was not detected in 8 samples and was detected in very small amounts in the other 5 (ranging from 0.007 to 0.020 ng/m3).   All these values are well below the long-term cancer-based comparison level of 8.3 ng/m3 and long-term noncancer-based comparison level of 100 ng/m3. 

Result:  The hexavalent chromium levels for the samples collected were well below the long-term comparison level.   The health concern from hexavalent chromium at this site is low.

Top of page

Analysis of Measured Wind Direction and Wind Speed at the School

We took measurements of wind direction and speed every day during the sample period. We took special note of the wind speed and direction on the days we took measurements of hexavalent chromium.

What we looked at What we found
We looked at whether the wind data taken on the days we took measurements of hexavalent chromium are similar or different from the wind patterns during the entire sampling period. We found the wind patterns taken on the days we took measurements of hexavalent chromium to be generally similar to those observed during the sampling period.
We looked at whether the wind pattern during the sampling period is reflective of regional wind pattern over the long term. Although we lack long term wind data at the monitoring station, we concluded that wind patterns over the sampling period were generally similar to the long-term patterns for the region.

Analysis of Information on Nearby Source of Hexavalent Chromium Emissions

What we looked at What we found
Whether we could determine if the source was operating as usual during the sampling period Emission information supplied by the facility to TRI appears to have highly overestimated the amount of chromium which might have been emitted by the facility.  It has been determined that the activity conducted by the facility, welding, has lower emissions of chromium compounds than what was reported.
PADEP requested the facility submit a “Request for Determination” to evaluate the need for an air permit at this facility.  Based on the information supplied, PADEP determined the facility did not need an air permit.

Top of page

Additional Information

Technical Report for School: Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools: Kreutz Creek Valley Elementary School (Hallam, Pennsylvania) (PDF) (18pp, 127k). The technical report is geared toward risk assessors, risk managers, and other regulatory agencies. 

Background on School Monitoring Effort

General Questions and Answers for School Monitoring Effort

Top of page

Jump to main content.