A new elementary school in Moore County, North Carolina, is to be constructed between two Superfund sites threatened by high levels of air pollution, NC Policy Watch reports. According to the city, the site bears no heightened risk of contamination, but CHEJ science director Stephen Lester isn’t so sure. Stephen shares CHEJ’s findings that there is no scientifically proven “safe distance” from pollution sites, and he calls into question effectiveness of current school siting guidelines. He recommends that parents sending their kids to the new Aberdeen elementary school in the future be incredibly vigilent about changes in their children’s health.
The Moore County case is particularly relevant because the new Aberdeen elementary school would serve primarily low-income students and students of color. In many ways, constructing a new elementary school is a push toward progress, as existing Aberdeen elementary schools were built during the segregation era. However, the new elementary school’s future location could potentially mean disproportionately exposing students of color and low income students to environmental contamination. As Stephen says, children are at higher risk for health complications from pollution contamination, and no child should have to face health complications due to pollution. <Read more>