Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 years. Beth is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. Follow her @bethfertig.
Hundreds of City Schools Near Polluted Sites
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
New York, NY —
A study by USA today finds 240 New York City schools are in locations with heavier-than-average industrial pollution. More than half are in Brooklyn, with large numbers in Queens and Manhattan. Local sources of pollution include Brooklyn's Pfizer Plant and Navy Yard, Long Island City's Keyspan Power Station and New Jersey refineries.
But EPA Spokesman Elias Rodriguez says the newspaper's findings are limited, because it simply merged school locations with an EPA database of known industrial pollution.
RODRIGUEZ: So this is only a screening tool meant to aid researchers and stakeholders in where they can look further to examine potential problems.
REPORTER: The newspaper analysis also didn't include accidental spills, smaller emitters, and car exhaust, which together could account for as much as 80 percent of airborne toxins.
The city's public and private schools are among the worst third of nearly 128,000 schools that USA Today ranked by local industrial air pollution.