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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Study Warns of Possible Cancer Risk in Schools

May 28, 1999

CANYON COUNTRY — Children who attend school in portable classrooms may be at higher risk of exposure to cancer causing substances, according to a report released Thursday.

More than 200,000 students in Los Angeles County--and 2 million statewide--now attend classes in the portable, prefabricated buildings, largely because of class size reduction mandates, according to the Environmental Working Group, which released the report.

The study, based on tests and scientific literature, said that a child's lifetime risk of cancer may be two to three times higher than federally accepted levels because of the formaldehyde and other chemicals used in the construction of prefabricated buildings, according to Bill Walker, California director of the Environmental Working Group.

Inadequate ventilation contributes to the problem, he said.

Based in Washington, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group was founded in 1993 and provides research for environmental advocacy groups.

The report was released at a news conference at Rio Vista Elementary School in Canyon Country, where one portable classroom has been vacant since April because several students became ill.

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