First air report from Colvin Elementary released

The pollution most likely to be of concern at Colvin Elementary School is chromium, the Environmental Protection Agency said today.

Chromium is used for making steel, chrome plating, dyes and pigments, leather tanning and wood preserving, the agency said in releasing the first set of air toxics monitoring data from the school.

EPA is monitoring air at Colvin and at Roland-Story High School in Story City, Iowa, as part of a Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative. Colvin and the Iowa school are the only two schools with monitoring in EPA Region 7; nationwide, 63 schools in 22 states are being monitored.

The data is posted at

EPA officials said the first results show that levels of the key hazardous air pollutants at Colvin Elementary are well below levels of short-term concern. In its release, the agency said EPA scientists warn against drawing conclusions at this point as the study is designed to determine whether long-term, not short-term, exposure poses health concerns for school children and staff.

Outdoor air at each of the schools is being monitored for 60 days, and air-quality monitors will take a minimum of 10 daily samples during the sampling period. EPA will use the information gathered in the initiative to help determine next steps.