According to a special report published by USA Today, children across the country are being exposed to toxic chemicals in the air on a daily basis. Schools located near major industrial sources of pollution are exposing children to a variety of toxic substances. The danger of exposure to airborne toxins is greater for children than adults, because they breathe more air in proportion to weight and their bodies are still developing. The injuries sustained from exposure may not been seen for decades.
In some cases, injuries can be manifested more quickly. For example, in Port Neches, Texas, more than two dozen former high school students were diagnosed with cancer within years of graduating. A petrochemical plant located less than one mile from the school has settled out of court with 17 of the students, although the plant apparently denies liability.
The EPA maintains records of major air emissions, as reported by industries, and in reviewing these records USA Today was able to determine schools whose students were likely breathing toxic emissions. Four Alabama schools were in the highest 1% in the nation for toxic air emissions: Twenty Second Avenue Baptist Kindergarten and Lewis Elementary in Birmingham, and Webster Elementary and Save the World Ministries Day Care in Muscle Shoals. To look at the toxins at your school, go to www.smokestack.usatoday.com.
Source: USA Today
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