Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools
Pittsboro Elementary School - Pittsboro, IN
Results and Analysis of EPA’s monitoring
EPA selected this school for monitoring because it is located near a steel mill that is a source of air toxics emissions. Computer models were used to determine which air toxics may be present at elevated levels in the outdoor air near the school. These models showed that manganese could be present in the air around the school and prompted EPA to test to see if the levels present may be of concern.
|Primary Findings||Levels of manganese in the air at the school are below levels of concern for short-term and long-term exposures.|
|Key Pollutants Monitored||Manganese. Inhalation may affect the nervous system if people are exposed to high levels.|
|Next Steps||EPA has decided to discontinue air toxics monitoring at Pittsboro Elementary School at this time because levels of manganese in the air at the school are below levels of concern for long-term exposure to air toxics.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) will continue to oversee industrial facilities in the area through the facility’s Title V air permit and other programs.
Summary of Study Approach and Findings
- A monitor collected air samples from August 23 through October 16, 2009, at the Pittsboro Elementary School in Pittsboro, IN. Manganese was the key pollutant of interest.
- We posted individual air sample results on this website throughout the monitoring period to keep your community informed during the monitoring period.
- During the monitoring period, we evaluated the monitored concentrations to see if there was a concern from short-term exposures (up to a couple of weeks).
- When the monitoring was complete, we analyzed the results to see if there was a concern from long-term exposures (over a lifetime).
- Also, when the monitoring was complete, we evaluated all the air samples from the on-site monitor. We also evaluated information on wind speed and wind direction from a weather monitor at the school, along with historical weather information and information about a nearby source of manganese emissions.
- Based on the monitoring results, we found no concern for risk of health problems from short-term exposures to manganese.
- Our analysis found that levels of manganese in the air at the school are below levels of concern for long-term exposure.
- The analysis indicates that manganese concentrations in the air near the school are influenced by a nearby industrial facility.
- The concentrations of manganese measured at the school are lower than those suggested by the information that helped identify this school for monitoring.
- The process to identify schools for monitoring relied on emissions estimates and other information. Ambient air monitoring at the school allowed measurement of what was actually in the air.
- The most recently available manganese emissions estimates for the nearby facility from the 2008 EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) arelower than the 2005 TRI estimates originally used to identify this school for monitoring. The facility has revised their 2005 TRI data and also requested a revision on their 2007 data both downward from what was previously reported. IDEM is in agreement with the revisions.
- Because the analysis shows monitored concentrations of manganese levels to be below levels of concern, EPA has discontinued air toxics monitoring at Pittsboro Elementary School.
- Click here for additional information
How We Analyzed the Information We Collected at this School
The analysis considered whether the information collected at the school might raise concerns for the health of children or adults at the school. We looked at the following types of information:
- Measured manganese concentrations and information on manganese
- Measured wind direction and wind speed at the school
- Information about nearby sources of manganese emissions
Analysis of Measured Manganese Concentrations:
1. Calculate the average: We calculated the average of the manganese measurements (shown by the black diamond in the graph below). We compared this average to the long-term comparison level (thick line on the graph below). The long-term comparison level represents the level of manganese in the air that is below levels associated with health concerns, even if someone breathed air containing manganese at that level all day, every day over a lifetime.
Result: The average manganese level for the samples collected was not above the long-term comparison level. The health concern is low.
2. Calculate a range: To account for varying air concentrations of manganese, we calculated a range around the average. We did this by estimating high and low values that the longer-term concentrations might reach using common statistical tools. We compared the highest point in the range (called the “upper bound”) to the long-term comparison level.
Result: The high end of the range is lower than the comparison level. The health concern is low.
Analysis of Measured Wind Direction and Wind Speed at the School
We took measurements of wind direction and speed every day during the sample period. We took special note of the wind speed and direction on the days we took measurements of manganese.
|What we looked at||What we found|
|We looked at whether the wind data taken on the days we took measurements of manganese are similar or different from the wind patterns during the entire monitoring period.||We found the wind patterns taken on the days we took measurements of manganese to be somewhat similar to those observed during the entire monitoring period.|
|We looked at whether the wind pattern during the monitoring period is similar or different from wind patterns over the long term.||We do not have a full year of wind data at this school. However, based on wind data in the general region, we concluded that wind patterns over the sampling period were generally not similar to the long-term patterns for the region.|
Analysis of Information on Nearby Source ofManganese Emissions
|What we looked at||What we found|
|Whether we could determine if the source was operating as usual during the monitoring period||This facility was operating at approximately 50% of its normal capacity during the monitoring period.|
|The concentrations of manganese measured at the school are lower than those suggested by the information that helped identify this school for monitoring.|
|The nearby source of manganese has a Title V operating permit issued by the State of Indiana that includes operating requirements.|
Technical Report for School: Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools: Pittsboro Elementary School (Pittsboro, IN) (PDF) (24pp, 242k). The technical report is geared toward risk assessors, risk managers, and other regulatory agencies.