EPA releases data for air toxics monitoring at Berks County school

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov, Release date: 10/01/2009
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released initial data from air toxics monitoring outside the Riverside Elementary School in Berks County, Pa.

EPA selected the Riverside School in Reading, Pa. as one of 63 schools in 22 states nationwide for air toxics monitoring.

The initial data show air toxics at the school are below levels of short-term health concerns. EPA scientists caution 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, the full set of results from all of the schools will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants. As monitoring continues into the fall, EPA will post the data on its schools air toxics website at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.

EPA identified hexavalent chromium, a metal commonly used in manufacturing, as the pollutant most likely to be of concern at the school, based on the best available information about emissions and sources of pollution in the area. EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have been using air toxics monitors outside the school to collect data since August. The preliminary data posted today show that levels of hexavalent chromium or Cr (VI) are well below levels of short-term concern.

Once monitoring is complete at this school, the full set of results will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term hexavalent chromium exposure. EPA also will post this analysis on the website once it is complete.

EPA will post the outdoor air monitoring data from all 63 schools from across the country as it becomes available. EPA will use the data from this initiative to help determine next steps, which could include additional monitoring or enforcement action.

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