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EPA to test schools’ air for toxic chemicals


The Environmental Protection Agency soon will begin testing the air around schools for toxic contaminants, reports the Associated Press. The $2.25 million program, announced March 2, will be the first to specifically target air contamination near schools and will focus on toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer, respiratory, and neurological problems–especially in children, who are more susceptible than adults because they are still growing. Initially, states and local governments will monitor the air at 50 to 100 schools located near large industrial facilities or in cities where a variety of sources can lead to high concentrations of pollution. The agency expects the monitoring to begin in 30 days. "Questions have been raised about air quality around some U.S. schools, and those questions merit investigation," said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. But it’s unclear what the agency can do if it finds that some pollutants pose risks on school grounds. There are no federal standards for the 188 chemicals classified as air toxics, and it can be hard to trace a pollution problem back to a specific source…

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