Most Polluted Schools

EAST TEXAS - Schools in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties are on a list of schools following the results of a study on air quality at schools.  The study suggests schools in Diboll are some of the most polluted in the nation.

Below are excerpts from USA Today's special report:  "The Smokestack Effect - Toxic Air and America's Schools."  At the end of the excerpts, there's a link and you can use it to find out how your child's school rated.

We should also point out that the state disagrees with some aspects of the study saying, "The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality knows of no schools in Texas where safe air emissions are being exceeded."

"USA TODAY used an EPA model to track the path of industrial pollution and mapped the locations of almost 128,000 schools to determine the levels of toxic chemicals outside.  The potential problems that emerged were widespread, insidious and largely unaddressed, according to their findings.

Children are uniquely susceptible to the dangers posed by many sorts of toxic chemicals because they breathe more deeply than adults, and because their bodies are still developing1. That's why USA TODAY worked with the researchers and scientists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and the University of Maryland in College Park to analyze exposure to industrial pollution at schools across the nation. The goal: To determine what sort of toxic chemicals children breathe when they go to school.

In some school districts, emissions from the smokestacks of refineries or chemical plants threatened students of every age, preschool through prom. Outside those schools, reports from polluters themselves often indicated a dozen different chemicals in the air. All are considered toxic by the government, though few have been tested for their specific effects on children.

Scientists have long known that kids are particularly susceptible to the dangers. They breathe more air in proportion to their weight than adults do, and their bodies are still developing. Based on the time they spend at school, their exposures could last for years but the impact might not become clear for decades."