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PA DEP Finds Air Quality Around Schools to be Safe
Date:2/27/2009

Findings Refute USA Today Report

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection today reported it found no unsafe levels of air pollutants or metals after extensively examining air quality samples taken recently near four Pennsylvania schools.

Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger said that the results of DEP's in-depth monitoring refute reports by USA Today in December 2008 that relied only on a "snapshot" measurement approach at three of the schools. DEP sampled the air at a fourth school at the request of district officials.

"The quality of the air Pennsylvania's children breathe is a top concern," Hanger said. "When USA Today suggested there was a potential problem, we immediately set out to verify their findings, but have been unable to do so. We simply have not found the levels of pollutants the newspaper's testing seemed to indicate.

"While that's the case, we plan to continue monitoring at certain schools for a limited period so we can further substantiate our findings and ensure the safety of these communities and their citizens."

Using federally accepted scientific protocols, DEP placed air quality monitors directly at the school buildings and tested samples collected over several weeks.

In contrast, USA Today sampled only once over several days and did not indicate the locations of their monitors and their distance from the schools. Some monitors were placed at the homes of volunteers and others at the offices of affiliated newspapers near the schools, the newspaper said.

"Our testing found the total excess lifetime cancer risk from exposure to pollutants at these schools is within the acceptable range identified by the Environmental Protection Agency," Hanger said. "Any health risk to a child, of course, is difficult for a parent to accept, wh
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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