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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Resource Helps Schools Reduce Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (Mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)

LOS ANGELES--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a document to give schools and parents ideas on how to reduce children's exposure to traffic-related air pollution. When schools are located close to busy roads, students can be exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. The new document, Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Pollution Exposure at Schools, offers strategies for limiting exposure, including ventilation and filtration, school siting and layout decisions, anti-idling policies, bus fleet upgrades, sound walls, vegetative barriers, and other actions staff can take.
"Our children are especially vulnerable to air pollution, which can damage their growing lungs," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "This new report gives school officials and parents multiple ways to limit their students' exposures to the pollutants from traffic."

Children are sensitive because their respiratory systems are not fully developed, and they are more active and breathe more rapidly than adults. Children are also more likely than adults to have asthma. In particular, low income and minority children are disproportionately impacted by asthma and are more likely to live and attend school near major roadways.

The document also contains a school ventilation checklist and links to additional resources for achieving clean, green and healthy school environments. EPA created this document in response to interest from parents, schools and public health advocates who have been wanting to help reduce traffic-related air pollution exposure.

Nearly 17,000 U.S. schools are located within 1/10th of a mile of a major road. In California, more than 400,000 children are in schools where heavy traffic may influence air quality. While the EPA has achieved major successes in reducing common pollutants by roughly 99% from cars and trucks since the creation of the Clean Air Act, schools may still be located in areas where air pollution levels are elevated.

The Best Practices document is available at http://www2.epa.gov/schools/best-practices-reducing-near-road-air-pollution-exposure-schools.

For today's EPA blog on "Putting the Brakes on Traffic-Related Pollution" please go to: https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2016/01/cars-and-trucks-and-things-that-go/