Minneapolis charter school to get EPA monitoringby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis, Minn. — A charter school in north Minneapolis is one of 62 across the nation that will get extra testing for air quality.
The Environmental Protection Agency is looking for toxic pollutants -- and says it picked the schools because they're near industrial facilities or other sources of pollution.
The only Minnesota school on the list is the Minnesota International Middle Charter School - a charter school in Minneapolis that serves mostly East African immigrant students.
International recently made the front page of the New York Times in a story about schools that cater to immigrant and refugee children.
But Jaime Wagner, with the EPA, says the school is near former industrial areas, not far from I-94 and the downtown Warehouse District.
"I think it's really important to note that just because a school was chosen for monitoring does not mean that we anticipate a problem for that school," Wagner said, in an interview. "It's just that it's an area where there may be concern so we wanted to check it out."
Testing will focus on toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer, respiratory and neurological problems - especially in children. The Minneapolis school specificaly will be tested for Chromium-6, diisocyanates, and various metals, including nickel.
"I think [parents] should just wait to see what the monitoring shows because I think what we're going to find is that in a lot of cases, there may be no concern," Wagner added. "The monitoring may show that there is no problem - and if that's the case the monitoring will end after 60 days and there won't be any more monitoring at that school."