It's been known for years that children attending schools sitting near super highways are at high risk for asthma attacks, heart and lung diseases, cancer and brain maladies. Nevertheless, states across the country are still building schools close to freeways.
California seemed to be most aware of these health risks and banned building schools near freeways in 2003. However at least as late as 2007, the Los Angeles district was still doing it, says an LA Times report.
But 5 years ago, according to a Center for Public Integrity report, parents at a California school sitting next to Interstate 405, organized to clean up and filter out some of the pollution spewed from the hundreds of tailpipes passing by each day. Presenting the findings of their own measurements, the group pressured the school board into supplying high-grade filters and pollution-trapping plants.
CPI says parents in CA are now well aware of what is going on all across the country and virtually unnoticed in other states.
Even though "EPA has warned school districts about traffic-pollution impacts since at least 2011;" and recommended that districts avoid building next to freeways, CPI says the US Department of Education has not taken a public stand on this issue.
Sign this petition to urge Betsy DeVos to publicly recommend that states stop building schools near freeways - and start using available technology to clean the air in schools already impacted by heavy traffic.
Dear Secretary DeVos;
This issue of exposing children, not just once, but on a daily basis, week after week, to serious health hazards, warrants an urgent and decisive statement from the Department of Education.
Center for Public Integrity notes that many schools are not even aware of the problem, and even though the “EPA released a guide in 2015 for reducing road pollution at schools,…school districts are under no obligation to follow it, assuming they even know it exists."
Also of concern is CPI’s report from Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District that the technology for cleaning up some of the pollution is “well-established” and “simple,” and yet schools from other states don’t seem to be inquiring about it.
It’s important that the US DOE make sure all school districts are aware of this issue and what they can do to help protect school children from the health hazards of auto exhaust.
Therefore we, the undersigned, are asking you to support federal funding for these clean-up efforts and publicly recommend that districts avoid building schools near freeways.
Thanks for your time.