In March 2009, I stumbled across a report on the internet published by USA Today called the Smokestack Effect. It was a ground breaking study that cross-referenced the federal Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data with school sitings, ranking the schools at greatest risk of cancer and non-cancer health effects due to air toxic exposures. The findings, especially for us Portlanders, was alarming. It underscored the risk to our children of toxic emissions from neighboring industrial facilities, in fact bringing to our attention that 35 Portland area schools were ranked in the bottom 5% in the nation air toxic hot spots.
The relevance all came back to me this week when DEQ called to alert me to the fact that EPA was now ready to present its report on the air monitoring study it conducted at my daughter’s school: Harriet Tubman.
As we prepare to witness the EPA response and analysis of the issue of toxic industrial emissions around schools, I think its a good time to revisit the original study:USA Today: The Smokestack Effect