1 in 3 Children at Risk of Chemical Disasters

ACTION ALERT by Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform

One in three U.S. schoolchildren attends school within the danger zone of a high-risk chemical facility, according to a report and interactive map released October 9th by the Center for Effective Government.

We mapped over 3,400 chemical facilities and the schools that fall within their “danger zones” – or the areas surrounding the facilities that could be affected by a chemical accident. The results were alarming: Over 19.6 million children attend schools within a danger zone. These children face the daily risk of chemical explosions or toxic releases.

We also found the following alarming facts:

  • Half of the children who attend school near chemical facilities (10.3 million) are in more than one danger zone, meaning that their school is near more than one high-risk facility.
  • In 102 counties in 22 states, every single child attends a school in a chemical danger zone.
  • Ten chemical facilities each reported danger zones that contain over 500,000 children; another 32 facilities reported zones containing between 250,000 and 500,000 children.

For more facts, view our report and state fact sheets.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the midst of updating its regulations for high-risk chemical facilities. Encourage your members and colleagues to sign our action alert; tell EPA to require facilities to use safer chemicals that reduce the risk to surrounding communities. 

We are asking you to please help us  spread the word so that chemical regulation reforms put our children first. We’ve created the following social media shares to make sharing easy. You can also share our project’s landing page with your listserv, or blog about the report using the sample post included below.

Please be in touch if you have any questions or if you want additional resources.

By educating citizens on these dangers and encourage action, we can significantly reduce the risk to our nation’s children.



Is Your Child At Risk? One in Three Schoolkids Are in a Chemical Danger Zone


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.


For more resources, visit the project’s landing page at http://www.foreffectivegov.org/kids-in-danger-zones.