Air toxics near sunnyside elementary in durango (Colo.) school district are below levels of concern


Denver, Colo. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a final report on air toxics monitoring at Sunnyside Elementary School, part of the Durango (Colo.) School District and located within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

In 2009, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Air Quality program collected monitoring data at Sunnyside School as part of EPA’s School Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative. EPA’s analysis of that data found that concentrations of air toxics near the school are below levels of concern associated with health problems from short- or long-term exposure. Air toxics measured included low levels of benzene,1,3-butadiene, and other volatile organic compounds. Based on the results, EPA will not continue air toxics monitoring at the school.

EPA selected Sunnyside Elementary School for monitoring, because it is located near air emissions sources associated with oil and gas exploration and production activities in the northern portion of the San Juan Basin.

EPA evaluated samples taken from September 4 to November 9, 2009 to determine if air toxics concentrations near the school presented any health concerns associated with short- and long-term exposures. To keep the community informed, EPA posted air sample results on its website throughout the monitoring period.

The School Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative monitored outdoor air at 63 schools in 22 states to help EPA and state/tribal agencies understand whether long-term exposures to air toxics pose health concerns for children and staff at the schools. Sunnyside Elementary School was the only school in Colorado monitored as part of the initiative.

EPA remains concerned about air toxics emissions from industrial and mobile sources and continues working to reduce those emissions across the country, through national rules and by providing information and suggestions to assist with reductions in local areas.

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