DALLAS -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced monitoring data from three schools in Texas indicate specific air toxics are below levels of concern. The EPA partnered with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to monitor and evaluate air samples at San Jacinto Elementary and Deer Park Junior High in Deer Park, Texas, as well as Temple Elementary in Diboll, Texas. These schools were selected for monitoring because of their proximity to industrial facilities that emit air toxics.
San Jacinto Elementary and Deer Park Junior High were measured for 1,3 butadiene, benzene, and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). A monitor at San Jacinto Elementary (which is less than half a mile from the junior high) collected air samples from September 2009 to January 2010, and again from October 2011 to May 2012. While one elevated result of 1,3 butadiene was found in the first round of monitoring, overall results show the toxics being tested were below levels of concern and the EPA will not continue monitoring.
Temple Elementary in Diboll, Texas, was tested for VOCs and acrolein, a chemical formed from burning tobacco and oil products that can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation at high levels. A nearby lumber and particleboard manufacturer was thought to be a possible source of acrolein at the school; however, samples gathered from October to December 2011 did not show levels of concern. Because of these findings, the EPA will not continue monitoring at the school.
The final reports for both studies are available on the EPA’s website. The TCEQ will continue to oversee industrial facilities in the area through Clean Air Act regulatory programs.
The Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative, which monitored outside air at 63 schools in 22 states, is designed to help the EPA and state environmental agencies understand whether long-term exposure to air toxics poses health concerns for children and staff at the schools.
The report on Temple Elementary is at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/TempleElemInfo.html
The report for the Deer Park schools is at http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/SanJacintoInfo.html
More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6