Using the government's most up-to-date model for tracking toxic chemicals, USA TODAY spent eight months examining the impact of industrial pollution on the air outside schools across the nation. The model is a computer simulation that predicts the path of toxic chemicals released by thousands of companies.
The air outside 435 other schools — from Maine to California — appears to be even worse, and the threats to the health of students at those locations may be even greater than those children at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in this Cincinnati suburb along the Ohio River.
USA TODAY used it to identify schools in toxic hot spots — a task the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had never undertaken.
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