Thursday, February 20, 2020

EPA honors Texas students for combatting arsenic levels

Eight middle school students from Whiteface, Texas, were amongt the 44 winners of the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA), announced during a ceremony at the White House today that also honored exemplary environmental educators.

The group of sixth and seventh graders worked on a three-year campaign to fight arsenic, a major public health threat. Calling themselves the Arsenic Arresters, the group did research to help decrease arsenic contamination and exposure, which presents a problem in their community as the drinking water is sourced from arsenic-laced groundwater.

“These remarkable young students and teachers are making a difference in their community and across Texas,”  EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry said. “I’m inspired to see such creative and inspiring work coming from young stewards.”

Working with the catchphrase, “Arsenic – It’s What’s for Dinner,” the students conducted interviews and did field research, including testing drinking water, wetlands, native plants and soil. Their findings – that sand dropseed grass helps remove arsenic from the soil, and that water from the hot tap had lower levels of the metal – helped reduce county and state arsenic levels.

The PEYA program highlights a student-driven environmental project from each of the EPA’s 10 regions to encourage students’ stewardship efforts.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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