Risks Stack Up For Students Near Industry

USA Today investigation reveals troubling results

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Seth Joel
    Fears follow smokestack study for parents

    Using the Environmental Protection Agency's 2005 pollution data, a USA Today investigation found 437 schools from California to Maine that have high exposures to toxic chemicals.

    The project looked at the reasons why children are vulnerable to toxic chemicals, as well as which schools may be in what they call toxic hot spots.

    A total of 127,800 public schools were ranked based on the amount and concentration of chemicals likely to be in the air around them.

    "We found that in some places there are dozens of different types of chemicals in the air, some according to government data, at concentrations that could prove harmful to kids who breath them for long periods of time," USA Today reporter Blake Morrison said.

    The list includes chemicals like benzene, manganese and chromium.

    The government's data has never been analyzed in this way.  The results found potentially higher risk for students at all levels.

    There are three schools in the Bay Area on the top of the list.  They are all in Berkeley: Black Pine Circle School, Nia House Learning Center and Via School.

    Health experts say they are afraid children in the 437 schools could face long-term health consequences, including cancer.

    "If the exposures are at relatively low levels, they may be causing damage in the child. They may be causing mutations in the child's cells that begin the pathway to cancer," said Dr. Philip Landrigan with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

    There is a link to check your school's toxic ranking:  Just click here.