Last year, when USA Today newspaper released a report about the toxicity of air around U.S. schools, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded by launching a $2.25 million program to analyze the air near American schools. The results of this program are starting to roll in.
The EPA recently announced it had completed air quality testing outside 63 schools in 22 states and at two tribal schools. Agency experts are now analyzing the data to understand whether air quality at these schools poses a long-term health concern for kids.
From the EPA press release:
“As a parent myself, I want to know that when I’m sending my children off to school, the air they breathe will be safe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Today, for the first time, we have the information we need to make sure our children are breathing clean air in areas that have worried parents in the past. As we analyze these air quality samples, EPA will continue to work quickly to protect all Americans — not just where they live and work, but also where they learn and play."
And now the heavy lifting begins. The agency has analyzed the data to determine potential long-term health risks to school children and staff. Two of those analyses (for Pittsboro Elementary School in Pittsboro, Ind., and Minnesota International Middle Charter School in Minneapolis) were released yesterday.
The remaining health analyses will be issued throughout the summer and fall.