Toxic Air Outside Schools

By: Lauren Evans Email
By: Lauren Evans Email

The air outside many Lansing schools contains toxic chemicals, according to a USA Today special report.

"There are a lot of emissions being put into the air near these schools," says Robert McCann, of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality.

Researchers studied the air quality at more than 100,000 schools across the country, determining how many toxic chemicals are present in the air. They found some Lansing schools had more toxic chemicals in the air than two-thirds of the schools they tested.

Local schools with the highest levels? Bingham Elementary, Pattengill Middle School, and Moores Park School. Researchers say that's because of emissions from nearby plants and factories.

"What that doesn't take into consideration is the fact of wind patterns," McCann points out. "Where does the wind effectively blow these chemicals? It may very well be blowing it in the complete opposite direction of the school."

McCann says the study certainly raises air quality awareness, but says the levels of chemicals researchers found are, at this point, not dangerous.

"Of our knowledge, no, there's no reason to be any more alarmed than we are about the air in our homes or the air anywhere," McCann says.

But Pediatrician Kenneth Stringer points out ingesting even a small amount of these chemicals could still be harmful to kids.

"Children are undergoing the process of developing, both neurologically and physically," Stringer says. "We want to maximize the environment they're in, so we can maximize their learning capabilities."

But, he says, the damage done would be much worse, if the air inside the school was toxic.

"They're having outside time on the playground, but that's a very small amount of time during their educational day, so I don't think there's cause for parents to be panicked," says Stringer.


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  • by bob Location: holt on Dec 10, 2008 at 08:02 AM
    Well a joke or not?What are thoes smels?The problem is alot of things we no longer smell.We are just use to them.Still they do not help us only hurt us.So many health problems happen from what we don't smell any more.Not saying what junk they preserve our foods with or treat our drinking water with.What really is below our cities in the sewers.What waste has been dumped in places we have no clue about.What has man came up with this time that smells?However we have much worse problems that are going to happen as the mich government continues to cut things that shouldn't be cut.By not getting jobs into mich so taxes can be collected,so the state can be supported.The air we breathe has many foul smells.We just haven't seen thge worse of it yet.
  • by Charles on Dec 9, 2008 at 03:45 PM
    If you think the air outside our schools is toxic you should be downwind of the Capitol sometime. (Its just a joke for pete's sakes)
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