Obama administration EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today announced a new initiative to measure levels of toxic air pollution near many schools around the country.Â EPA said federal officials and partners at state agenciesÂ “will prioritize and monitor schools for more extensive air quality analysis looking closely at schools near large industries and in urban areas.”
The EPA announcement comes after a major investigation by USA Today, in which air monitoring “showed pollution at levels that could make people sick or significantly increase their risk of cancer if they were exposed to the chemicals for long periods.”
The newspaper’s investigation found dangerous levels of air pollution at 27 schools in West Virginia, including schools in Huntington, Parkersburg, Vienna, Williamstown, and Follansbee, according to a report by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
The USA Today Web site allows readers to search for their local schools and compare air quality there to at other schools around the country.
Jackson said in a statement:
I’m a mother first, and like all parents, I want to be sure my children are breathing healthy air at school. Questions have been raised about air quality around some U.S. schools, and those questions merit investigation. EPA will work quickly to make assessments and take swift action where necessary. Our job is to protect the American public where they live, work and play – and that certainly includes protecting schoolchildren where they learn.