New Report Says 1 in 10 Missouri Kids at Risk Due to Toxins

5 years 7 months 8 hours ago Friday, April 18 2014 Apr 18, 2014 Friday, April 18, 2014 1:52:00 PM CDT April 18, 2014 in News
By: Elaina O'Connell, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - One in ten Missouri kids spend several hours each day near potentially dangerous chemical facilities, according to a new report conducted by the Center for Effective Government.

The center analyzed data on chemical facilities from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Risk Management Program and information on schools, elementary through high school, from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The center's director of open government policy, Sean Moulton, said nationally there are 4.6 million children affected, and in Missouri there are 195,000 school-aged kids at risk.

There are 293 schools in Missouri within one mile of a high-risk chemical facility, the report says.

"One of the reasons we wanted to get this information out there was so that parents, students, and schools can become more active in their own safety," Moulton said. "Schools run fire drills on a regular basis, and that is not to scare the students it is to prepare them. If a fire breaks out in that building you want the kids to be ready to act, and they should have the same kinds of procedures for schools that are close to these facilities considering the possibility of an accident and what they need to do."

KOMU 8 News looked at some of the counties in our viewing area including Boone, Audrain, Callaway, Cole, Moniteau, Cooper, Howard, and Randolph, and found 24 schools are within the one mile radius.

In Columbia, Derby Ridge Elementary School is within a one mile radius from Hawkins Water Treatment Group. According to the Center for Effective Government, Hawkins Water Treatment group houses 5,000 pounds of toxic chlorine. Also, emergency response plan data shows that the facility has its own response plan in case of an emergency, but it does not have a community plan. The local response agency listed is the Boone County Fire Department. The company's Vice President Rich Erstad said it is a part of policy to list the response agency, but he is not familiar with the community plan in case of an emergency. 

Moulton said that parents and community members need to better understand risks that these facilities pose and to push for changes. He said the deadly explosion in West Texas one year ago, which destroyed one school and damaged two others, should serve as a wake up call.

"I think the companies that run these facilities have a responsibility to the communities that they operate within," Moulton said. "Workers that come to the facility have a responsibility to be as safe as possible."

Moulton also said there are more than 100 advocacy groups that continue to recommend stronger disclosure rules and greater oversight of chemical facilities, as well as better emergency response plans. The Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters lists all of the advocacy groups on it's website.

Moulton said schools have a responsibility to protect both kids and parents. Moulton said one of the most important things the federal government can do to protect children and communities is to require these facilities to use safer chemicals and processes whenever feasible.

KOMU 8 News spoke to the assistant principal at Derby Ridge Elementary School, and the only comment she would make was, "We are very vigilant about keeping the kids safe." 

One of Moulton's concerns is that the schools are unaware of the dangers.

"I think it is easy to be close to these facilities, but if you can't see them and you are not right on top of them you don't realize how close you can be," Moulton said. "I think the other thing is many people probably don't realize the magnitude of risk that some of these facilities pose."

To find out if your child's school is within one mile from a high risk chemical facility there is an interactive map on the Center for Effective Government's website.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - After years in the making, Columbia City Council will be one step closer in deciding the final steps... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:05:20 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY—The Department of Planning and Protective Services in Jefferson City declared the first building with tornado damage as “dangerous”... More >>
9 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 6:03:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
SWEET SPRINGS - In some parts of Missouri, rural health care is on life support. A bright green handwritten... More >>
9 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:31:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — As the hunting season begins hunters are being encouraged to share their harvests to help fellow Missourians. ... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:29:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A new Missouri law will honor five veterans from Boone County killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:03:55 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Conservation is urging hunters to stay safe after an incident Saturday night. One... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 4:59:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City school district is increasing the pay of its substitute teachers in a... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 1:49:00 PM CST November 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – From showcasing hand-carved wooden canes to hosting a silent auction for a local food bank, the annual art... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, November 17 2019 Nov 17, 2019 Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:03:00 AM CST November 17, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Officials confirmed there was a hunting incident Saturday night. Boone County Sheriff's deputies and several medical... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 6:43:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One person has been detained following a police chase that ended at the Taco Bell on Providence Road... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:11:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested one person after a report of shots fired on Quail Drive Saturday afternoon. Earl Tramail... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:41:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Deputies were dispatched to the Midway Travel Plaza on Saturday for a reported bomb threat, but they... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 12:24:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former Kansas City Chiefs football player and eight codefendants have had additional charges filed against them... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 8:51:00 AM CST November 16, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - There have been three water boil advisories in the past week for about 50 people in the Hickory... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 6:57:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors charged a man Friday with child sex crimes which court documents said happened in 2018 and 2019.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 4:05:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
MOBERLY – Moberly City Council approved a $4.6 million bid to replace all of the water meters in the city.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 3:28:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Organizers from ECHO Autism's summit are pushing for more resources for people with autism in rural Missouri. Many... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 2:14:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Housing Authority is looking for ways to give new life to four historical homes. Executive... More >>
2 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 2:14:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 38°
4am 36°
5am 35°
6am 34°
7am 33°