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Air Quality

Air Quality in Your Community - North Charleston

Air Toxics Data

DHEC petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to select Chicora Elementary School to be included in their national study to monitor concentrations of toxic air pollutants near schools.

Estimates of emissions from industrial sources, computer models, and other information available to EPA and DHEC indicated that toxic compounds may be present at elevated levels in the outdoor air around the school. Based on the nearby sources, EPA identified six key pollutants to measure in the air near this school:

Concentrations of other toxic air pollutants, such as arsenic and other metals, were also measured in the samples and are available.

  • Several samplers collected air samples over five months starting in July at Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston, SC.
  • Acetaldehyde, hexavalent chromium, manganese, nickel, 1,3-butadiene, and benzene were the key pollutants being monitored.
  • DHEC also collected samples during the study at two additional monitoring sites, located on Jenkins Avenue and in Howard Heights.
  • Individual air sample results were provided throughout the monitoring period to keep the community informed.
  • Initial review of the data indicated no concern for risk of health problems from short-term exposures to acetaldehyde, hexavalent chromium, manganese, or nickel.
  • Data shows other toxic air pollutants were present at very low levels in the air, which is typical for an urban area.
  • The actual concentrations of the key pollutants measured around Chicora Elementary are lower than the emissions estimates in the models that were used to identify this school for monitoring.
  • EPA analyzed the results to estimate long-term average levels at the school and determine whether those levels are a health risk for school-age children, school staff, and the local community.
  • The following was evaluated to determine if a problem exists with air quality around the school:
    • measurements of air toxics found in the air,
    • information about nearby potential sources of these air toxics,
    • information on wind direction and wind speed at Chicora Elementary, and
    • what is known about the relationship between exposure to these pollutants at the measured levels over several years (i.e., chronic exposure) and the risk of developing associated health problems over the course of a lifetime1.

1 Potential inhalation risks are typically incremental; that is, they are potential risks that are in addition to those risks already faced by the population under study for reasons other than exposure to air toxics (i.e., hereditary or lifestyle risks such as smoking).

  • The results of the monitoring at and near Chicora Elementary were consistent with monitoring that has been done in other industrialized areas in SC and around the country.
  • Some pollutants were detected at levels above background levels; however, EPA's evaluations of these pollutants do not show short-term or long-term health effects.
  • Because the monitoring did not indicate any public health concerns with short-term or long-term exposure, EPA and DHEC do not plan to do any additional monitoring as part of the School Air Toxics initiative at Chicora Elementary School.
  • For more information about EPA's monitoring study results and analysis, please visit EPA's Chicora Elementary webpage.

Air Toxics Data

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed sample screening levels for the Schools Monitoring Initiative for each pollutant to help identify situations where additional information may be needed, such as further evaluation of conditions during the sampling period and/or review of activity at potential local sources of a measured pollutant.

It is important to understand that individual sample results above the EPA's sample screening levels do not necessarily indicate that there is a health risk to people who live or work nearby, only that additional information may be required to understand the potential impacts. When pollutants were found to have concentrations above the EPA's screening levels, EPA carefully evaluated any potential health effects and assessed the need for additional monitoring.

Chicora Elementary Jenkins Avenue Howard Heights

Chicora Elementary

All results will be posted as they become available, most within 4 to 6 weeks from the date the sample is collected. Some results may not be available until the end of the sample study.

ng/m3 = Nanograms per cubic meter

µg/m3 = Micrograms per cubic meter
ND

--
= Pollutant Not Detected

= Sample not taken or invalid

 

The key pollutants analyzed in the samples from this site and their concentrations

Key Pollutants Screening
Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 
Low volume PM10 metals  (ng/m3)
Manganese 500 -- 9.66 9.01 6.07 4.93 7.03 -- 5.00 9.11 7.99      
Nickel 200 -- 2.26 0.88 0.85 0.87 1.36 -- 0.59 1.69 1.64      
 
Hexavalent Chromium  (ng/m3)
Chromium VI 580 ND 0.0199 0.0158 0.0135 ND -- ND ND ND ND      
 
Volatile Organic Compounds  (µg/m3)
1,3-Butadiene 20 -- -- 0.04206 0.05534 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Acrolein 7 -- -- 2.52357 3.533 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Benzene 30 -- -- 0.48587 0.55619 -- -- -- -- -- --      
 
Carbonyls  (µg/m3)
Acetaldehyde 90 -- -- -- -- -- 0.55162 0.78777 0.7409 0.57145 0.97344      

 

Concentrations of other toxic air pollutants analyzed in the samples

Other Pollutants Screening
Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 
High volume PM10 mass  (µg/m3)
PM10 Mass   -- 25 26 24 29 -- 21 22 23 21      
 
Low volume PM10 metals  (ng/m3)
Antimony 2000 -- 1.36 0.4 0.53 0.68 0.77 -- 0.51 0.49 0.79      
Arsenic 150 -- 1.02 0.89 1.33 0.17 1.47 -- 1.17 0.52 1.21      
Beryllium 20 -- ND ND ND 0.02 ND -- 0.01 0.0008 0.002      
Cadmium 30 -- 0.11 0.19 0.13 0.18 0.29 -- 0.05 0.1 0.08      
Cobalt 100 -- 0.23 0.18 0.14 0.11 0.05 -- 0.1 0.05 0.07      
Mercury 3000 -- 0.003 0.06 0.009 0.03 0.002 -- 0.009 ND ND      
Selenium 20000 -- 1.04 0.53 0.79 0.98 0.45 -- 0.53 0.86 0.74      
 
Volatile Organic Compounds  (g/m3)
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane 120 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 440 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
1,1-Dichloroethane 4400 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
1,1-Dichloroethylene 80 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 2000 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
1,2-Dichloropropane 200 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
1,4-Dichlorobenzene 10000 -- -- 0.09625 0.22258 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Acetonitrile 600 -- -- 0.39646 0.55941 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Acrylonitrile 200 -- -- ND 0.14765 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Benzyl chloride 140 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Bromoform 6400 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Bromomethane 200 -- -- 0.05828 0.06605 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Carbon disulfide 7000 -- -- 1.22127 0.27728 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Carbon tetrachloride 200 -- -- 0.98199 0.64837 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Chlorobenzene 10000 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Chloroethane 40000 -- -- 0.03961 0.02376 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Chloroform 500 -- -- 0.10259 0.10748 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Chloromethane 1000 -- -- 1.95464 1.55792 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Chloroprene 70 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Dichloromethane 2000 -- -- 0.30238 0.49354 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Ethyl acrylate 20000 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Ethylbenzene 40000 -- -- 0.15207 0.19986 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Ethylene dibromide 12 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Ethylene dichloride 270 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Hexachlorobutadiene 320 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Methyl chloroform 10000 -- -- 0.08189 0.06551 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Methyl isobutyl ketone 30000 -- -- 1.89368 2.35275 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Methyl methacrylate 7000 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Methyl tert-butyl ether 7000 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Styrene 9000 -- -- 0.09377 0.09803 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Tetrachloroethylene 1400 -- -- 0.23752 0.25788 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Toluene 4000 -- -- 1.56483 1.93058 -- -- -- -- -- --      
Trichloroethylene 10000 -- -- ND ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
Vinyl chloride 1000 -- -- 0.0179 ND -- -- -- -- -- --      
o-Xylene 9000 -- -- 0.17814 0.21724 -- -- -- -- -- --      
 
Carbonyls  (g/m3)
Formaldehyde 50 -- -- -- -- -- 1.60989 1.86796 1.89254 1.37639 2.27351      
Propionaldehyde 80 -- -- -- -- -- 0.14023 0.09507 0.17113 0.11646 0.17351      

 

As a footnote to the table: It is important to remember that these results cannot provide a complete assessment of historical and/or future long-term health risks, as they do not account for variation in mobile sources, variability in weather and climate conditions, increased use of air pollution controls by industry, fluctuation in production rates, and other methods of exposure (skin contact and ingestion) and only reflect the actual concentration of the air toxics on the days the measurements were taken.

Jenkins Avenue

All results will be posted as they become available, most within 4 to 6 weeks from the date the sample is collected. Some results may not be available until the end of the sample study.

ng/m3 = Nanograms per cubic meter

g/m3 = Micrograms per cubic meter
ND

--
= Pollutant Not Detected

= Sample not taken or invalid

 

The key pollutants analyzed in the samples from this site and their concentrations

Key Pollutants Screening
Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 
Low volume PM10 metals  (ng/m3)
Manganese 500 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Nickel 200 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
 
Hexavalent Chromium  (ng/m3)
Chromium VI 580 -- 0.0302 0.0145 0.0067 0.0510 ND 0.0053 ND ND ND      
 
Volatile Organic Compounds  (g/m3)
1,3-Butadiene 20 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Acrolein 7 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND      
Benzene 30 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
 
Carbonyls (g/m3)
Acetaldehyde 90 1.81 1.81 1.33 1.59 1.75 1.22 1.84 1.54 -- --      

Concentrations of other toxic air pollutants analyzed in the samples

Other Pollutants Screening
Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 
High volume PM10 mass  (g/m3)
PM10   27 36 34 40 42 19 23 23 -- 25      
 
Low volume PM10 metals  (ng/m3)
Antimony 2000 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Arsenic 150 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Beryllium 20 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Cadmium 30 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Cobalt 100 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Mercury 3000 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Selenium 20000 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
 
Volatile Organic Compounds  (g/m3)
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane 120 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 440 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
1,1-Dichloroethane 4400 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
1,1-Dichloroethylene 80 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 2000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
1,2-Dichloropropane 200 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
1,4-Dichlorobenzene 10000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Acetonitrile 600 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Acrylonitrile 200 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Benzyl chloride 140 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Bromoform 6400 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Bromomethane 200 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Carbon disulfide 7000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Carbon tetrachloride 200 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Chlorobenzene 10000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Chloroethane 40000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Chloroform 500 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Chloromethane 1000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Chloroprene 70 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Dichloromethane 2000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Ethyl acrylate 20000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Ethylbenzene 40000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Ethylene dibromide 12 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Ethylene dichloride 270 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Hexachlorobutadiene 320 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Methyl chloroform 10000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Methyl isobutyl ketone 30000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Methyl methacrylate 7000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Methyl tert-butyl ether 7000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Styrene 9000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Tetrachloroethylene 1400 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Toluene 4000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Trichloroethylene 10000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
Vinyl chloride 1000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
o-Xylene 9000 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND -- --      
 
Carbonyls (g/m3)
Formaldehyde 50 5.42 4.99 4.35 4.14 5.20 2.60 5.29 4.19 -- --      

 

As a footnote to the table: It is important to remember that these results cannot provide a complete assessment of historical and/or future long-term health risks, as they do not account for variation in mobile sources, variability in weather and climate conditions, increased use of air pollution controls by industry, fluctuation in production rates, and other methods of exposure (skin contact and ingestion) and only reflect the actual concentration of the air toxics on the days the measurements were taken.

Howard Heights

All results will be posted as they become available, most within 4 to 6 weeks from the date the sample is collected. Some results may not be available until the end of the sample study.

ng/m3 = Nanograms per cubic meter

g/m3 = Micrograms per cubic meter
ND

--
= Pollutant Not Detected

= Sample not taken or invalid

 

The key pollutants analyzed in the samples from this site and their concentrations

Key Pollutants Screening
Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 
High volume PM10 metals  (ng/m3)
Manganese 500 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Nickel 200 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
 
Hexavalent Chromium  (ng/m3)
Chromium VI 580 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      

Concentrations of other toxic air pollutants analyzed in the samples

Other Pollutants Screening
Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 
High volume PM10 mass  (g/m3)
Mass   20 27 26 -- -- -- -- 22 22 30      
 
High volume PM2.5 mass  (g/m3)
Mass   9.5 10.3 8.1 13.3 14.2 6.5 10.0 8.2 11.2 10.2      
 
Low volume PM10 mass metals  (g/m3)
Antimony 2000 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Arsenic 150 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Beryllium 20 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Cadmium 30 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Cobalt 100 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Mercury 3000 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      
Selenium 20000 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --      

 

As a footnote to the table: It is important to remember that these results cannot provide a complete assessment of historical and/or future long-term health risks, as they do not account for variation in mobile sources, variability in weather and climate conditions, increased use of air pollution controls by industry, fluctuation in production rates, and other methods of exposure (skin contact and ingestion) and only reflect the actual concentration of the air toxics on the days the measurements were taken.


For more information please contact the Bureau of Air Quality at (803) 898-4123 or by email.