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Results of Ongoing Testing Show Air Quality is Safe Near Schools in Beaver and Erie Counties in Pennsylvania
Date:9/17/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Air quality sampling by the state Department of Environmental Protection at schools in Beaver and Erie counties has not detected unsafe levels of air pollutants or metals, Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today.

DEP's investigation was prompted by a December 2008 report in USA Today that indicated potentially toxic air around the schools.

DEP today released the results of extensive air quality monitoring at the Midland Elementary-Middle School in Beaver County, and additional monitoring at the Ridgefield Elementary and Iroquois Junior-Senior High Schools in Erie County. USA Today reported that its sampling at the Midland school had detected the presence of chromium and manganese. The newspaper also made predictions, using information reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about the likely presence of toxins produced at industries near the Ridgefield and Iroquois schools.

"Although our initial sampling at Midland did not indicate high levels of toxins, we continued testing for toxic metals and conducted additional sampling to determine the precise type and levels of chromium detected there," Hanger said. "Further testing showed that the levels of hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, were even lower than we had initially estimated."

USA Today did not do any sampling at the Ridgefield or Iroquois schools, but estimated high levels of cobalt, manganese, chromium and nickel around the Ridgefield school, and high levels of manganese, chromium, nickel and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene around the Iroquois school.

Using federally accepted scientific protocol, DEP located air quality monitors directly on the school buildings.

"Our testing found the total excess lifetime cancer risk from exposure to pollutants at these schools is within the
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
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