Keep Schools Away from Toxic Air Polluters

Keep Schools Away from Toxic Air Polluters

In December 2008, USA TODAY published an investigative report that used a government computer simulation that showed at least 435 schools where the air outside appeared to be more toxic than the air at an Ohio elementary school closed in 2005.
After the Bucket Brigade samples showed the air was contaminated, the Ohio EPA conducted their own tests and found levels of carcinogens 50 times what the state considered acceptable.
USA TODAY contacted GCM and we worked with them on a national investigation of toxic air and schools and recommended they expose this serious problem. They subsequently teamed with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland to take "snapshot" air samples near 95 schools in 30 states. At 64 of those locations, the newspaper found elevated levels of chemicals.
Children are particularly susceptible to toxic chemicals; they breathe more air in proportion to their weight than do adults, and their bodies are still developing. Exposure to some chemicals can trigger ailments such as asthma or lead to cancer years or even decades later.
This report along with continued advocacy by GCM, our community partners and other organizations led to the EPA agreeing to develop guidelines around the siting of schools near air pollution sources and hazardous waste sites.
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