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EPA To Monitor Schools Identified In USAToday Series

I wrote about the original survey back in December, and this is great news for the families of children who attend these schools. (One of these school

I wrote about the original survey back in December, and this is great news for the families of children who attend these schools. (One of these schools is only a few blocks from my house. You can check your local school at the link.)

While I'm not too pleased with the direction of Obama's economic and military policies, I do give the administration big props for the actions taken so far by the top federal agencies:

WASHINGTON — In its most sweeping effort to determine whether toxic chemicals permeate the air schoolchildren breathe, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce plans today to monitor the air outside 62 schools in 22 states. Texas and Ohio have the most schools on the list, with seven each; Pennsylvania has six.

The plan will cost about $2.25 million and includes taking samples outside schools in small towns such as Story City, Iowa, and Toledo, Ore., and in large cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. It comes in response to a USA TODAY investigation that used the government's own data to identify schools that appear to be in toxic hot spots.

"Your stories raised important questions that merit investigation and that's what we're doing," EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday. "We want parents to know that the places their children live, play and learn are safe."

USA TODAY's investigation, published in December, used a government computer simulation that showed at least 435 schools where the air outside appeared to be more toxic than the air outside Meredith Hitchens Elementary, an Ohio school closed in 2005. At Hitchens, the Ohio EPA found levels of carcinogens 50 times above what the state considered acceptable.

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