EPA recommends Louisiana state agencies consider relocating elementary school students over toxic chemical exposure fears | News | Opinion
By John Taylor
On September 29, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued an urgent warning to the state’s public schools that the state will no longer allow them to be the location of elementary schools without the support of the state’s Office of Environmental Quality, citing the recent exposure to toxic chemical exposure of elementary school children in the state.
In a press release, Edwards said the state’s Office of Environmental Quality has made a decision not to let the state’s elementary schools continue to be used as the site of a campus without the state’s consent. Edwards also said the state will not provide the support necessary to allow elementary schools to be used as campuses in any case.
This decision follows on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) own findings that the state’s drinking water has been contaminated by the release of toxic chemicals into the environment, including at least one form of persistent organic pollutant (POP), dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-dioxin).
“While the agency’s finding that the public drinking water system in our state contains significant levels of dioxin is deeply troubling and unacceptable, it is also a matter of grave concern that children may be exposed to this dangerous toxin. The EPA agrees with us, and has determined that these problems threaten the health of our children,” said Edwards. “The EPA will continue to work with the education community to ensure that toxic chemicals are not being released into the environment through the use of public drinking water.”
This news comes less than one day after the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announced that it will conduct an emergency action plan to address the issue of water safety in the state’s public water supply, which provides drinking water for 2 million people and roughly half of the state�