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Air pollution near Michigan schools linked to poorer student health, academic performance
Date:5/4/2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Air pollution from industrial sources near Michigan public schools jeopardizes children's health and academic success, according to a new study from University of Michigan researchers.

The researchers found that schools located in areas with the state's highest industrial air pollution levels had the lowest attendance rates---an indicator of poor health---as well as the highest proportions of students who failed to meet state educational testing standards.

The researchers examined the distribution of all 3,660 public elementary, middle, junior high and high schools in the state and found that 62.5 percent of them were located in places with high levels of air pollution from industrial sources.

Minority students appear to bear the greatest burden, according to a research team led by Paul Mohai of the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment and Byoung-Suk Kweon of the U-M Institute for Social Research.

The researchers found that while 44.4percent of all white students in the state attend schools located in the top 10 percent of the most polluted locations in the state, 81.5 percent of all African American schoolchildren and 62.1 percent of all Hispanic students attend schools in the most polluted zones.

The study results are reported in the May edition of the journal Health Affairs. Mohai and Kweon presented their findings today at a Washington, D.C., forum sponsored by Health Affairs.

"Our findings show that schools in Michigan were disproportionately located in places with high levels of air pollution from industrial sources. In addition, we found that Michigan's minority students bear a disproportionately high share of the air pollution burden," said Mohai, a professor at the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment. Mohai is also a faculty associate at the Institute for Social Research.

The majority of the most-polluted sites in Michigan are in the southern half of
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Contact: Jim Erickson
ericksn@umich.edu
734-647-1842
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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