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It would appear that we need, once again, to rethink this countries headlong, regulationless spiral into a toxic soup. This study regards our kids not bottom line, dividends and lobbyists.

Using the government’s most up-to-date model for tracking the path of toxic chemicals, USA Today spent eight months examining the impact of industrial pollution on the air outside schools across the nation. The model is a computer simulation that predicts the path of toxic chemicals released by thousands of companies...

The potential problems that emerged were widespread, insidious and largely unaddressed.

At Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in East Chicago, Ind., for instance, the data indicated levels of manganese more than a dozen times higher than what the government considers safe. The metal can cause mental and emotional problems after long exposures. Three factories within blocks of the school — located in one of the most impoverished areas of the state — combined to release more than 6 tons of it in a single year.

In Huntington, W.Va., data showed the air outside Highlawn Elementary School had similarly high levels of nickel that can harm lungs and cause cancer.

The middle school in Follansbee, W.Va., is close to a cluster of plants that churn out tens of thousands of pounds of toxic gases and metals a year.


At San Jacinto Elementary School in Deer Park, Texas, data indicated carcinogens at levels even higher than the readings that prompted the shutdown of Hitchens. A recent University of Texas study showed an “association” between an increased risk of childhood cancer and proximity to the Houston Ship Channel, about 2 miles from the school.


The 437 schools that ranked worst weren’t confined to industrial centers. Although Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania had the highest numbers, the worst schools extended from the East Coast to the West, in 170 cities across 34 states, USA Today found.


The federal EPA, which has a special office charged with protecting children’s health, has invested millions of taxpayer dollars in pollution models to help identify schools where toxic chemicals saturate the air. Even so, USA Today found, the agency has all but ignored examining whether the air is unsafe at the very locations where kids are required to gather.
Detroit Free Press 12/8/08
 

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