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Katherine McFate's picture

We insist our kids wear bike helmets and seatbelts, and look both ways before crossing the street. We demand playground equipment that’s safe and schoolrooms without lead paint. So did you ever imagine when you send your child to school that he or she could be in the vulnerability zone of a toxic chemical facility? 


Over one in three kids in elementary and secondary school are.


At the Center for Effective Government, we’ve created an interactive map tool to allow you to zoom down and see if the school your child attends is in a chemical danger zone; it also shows the name and address of the facility that is putting your child at risk and actions you can take to change this.

At least 36 percent of the kids in public and private schools (pre-kindergarten to high school) are in a chemical facility danger zone – that equals 19.6 million children in nearly 40,000 schools.


It doesn’t have to be this way. There are actions to take to reduce the size of the danger zones and take our kids out of harm’s way.

These facilities are high-risk because they use or store huge amounts of toxic chemicals, including ones like chlorine gas (which was used as a chemical weapon in WWI). Fortunately, facilities can switch to safer chemicals and technologies that reduce the risk to surrounding communities. They can also store smaller quantities of toxics at their facilities. Many facilities have already switched to safer chemicals.

·         Demand that EPA require companies to make their facilities safer.

·         Share the mapreport, and state fact sheets with your friends and neighbors. Encourage them to sign the action alert, as well.

·         Use the map to investigate the facilities in your community that put kids at risk. You can contact the facilities yourself or start a letter-writing campaign that urges them to switch to safer chemicals.

And this November – vote for elected officials who will put the safety of your kids first!

For more resources, visit the project’s landing page at

At 11 a.m. ET today, September 30, the Center for Effective Government released a new interactive map and a related report: Kids in Danger Zones: One in Three U.S. Schoolchildren at Risk from Chemical Catastrophes. They show that over 1 in 3 public and private schoolkids in the U.S. would be at risk should a catastrophe occur at a high-risk chemical facility.

The map is available now on an embargoed basis at’re also attaching the embargoed press release, related report, some shareable social media images, and some sample tweets. We hope that you will join us on Tuesday in pushing these materials out. Please share them with your e-mail, media, and social media networks. We also encourage you to blog about the map and the report with links to the materials. All resources will be available Tuesday morning at


A bit of background on this project: back in April, the Center for Effective Government released an interactive map of chemical facilities and schools within one mile of them. Over the spring and summer, we dug deeper into the schools and chemical facilities issue, both as part of a report we co-released with two other organizations and as part of a larger project.


The dangers to kids are much worse than previously thought: applying self-reported “vulnerability zones” to a map of public and private schools, we discovered that 19.6 million children (36 percent of the nation’s schoolkids) are at risk of a chemical disaster should a plant near their schools suffer a fire, explosion, or toxic leak. This is unacceptable, but there are things we can do to make America’s schoolkids safer.


Our report and resources page lay out a number of those actions, including sending a comment to the federal EPA, contacting state environmental agencies and lawmakers, writing a letter to the editor, and engaging directly with chemical facility officials.


Please join us in spreading the word about these important findings and ways parents, teachers, and officials can help!


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