Intersection of Schools and Highways Produces Bad Air

Providence alone has 24 schools within 1,000 feet of major roads, including three schools for students with special needs. About 8,000 public schools nationwide lie within 500 feet of highways, truck routes, and other roads with significant traffic, according to a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

“Kids are more vulnerable to air pollution because they tend to spend a lot more time outside than adults. They also breathe much faster,” Wellenius said. “So the impacts of those pollutants can be more pronounced because their lungs are rapidly developing. There's a lot of evidence that kids being exposed to these high levels of air pollution are having effects on their lung growth. There’s a greater risk of developing asthma, or of asthma worsening.” Rhode Island’s childhood asthma rates are among the highest in the country, a whopping 11 percent.

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Photo credit: Joanna Detz/ecoRI News