NewsLocal News


Amid environmental injustice concerns in KCK, EPA concludes dust deposits at Armourdale daycare are 'natural'

Ivonne Guitierrez
Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-08 18:06:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Results from dust samples collected by the EPA at a childcare facility in the Armourdale neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, came back clean, the Environmental Protection Agency told KSHB 41 News on Friday.

The EPA collected the dust samples on Aug. 31 at Genesis Childcare and Home Facility upon a request made by CleanAirNow (CAN), a Kansas City-based nonprofit that advocates for environmental justice. The dust had settled on outdoor playground equipment at the childcare home facility.

The childcare facility's proximity to industrial zones, trafficways and rail yards made the owner, Ivonne Guitierrez, concerned about the dust buildup and the potential health hazards it could cause for the children she cares for, who predominately come from low-income Spanish-speaking households.

Despite her environmental concerns, Guitierrez, who advocates with CAN, refuses to move her childcare facility, which was once her family home, because it — a Head Start program — offers services to Spanish-speaking KCK families that would otherwise not be available to them.

Samples of the dust deposits were taken to EPA Region 7's Laboratory Science and Technology Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

There, the EPA concluded there were — most importantly — no traces of lead in the deposits, and that the metals detected in the analyses were determined to be "naturally occurring."

"The proportions of these metals detected in the sample analyses are generally consistent with the proportions of these metals typically detected in Kansas soils," the EPA said in a statement to KSHB 41.

The EPA notes that cleaning outdoor and indoor surfaces regularly, removing shoes when indoors, and hand-washing can reduce exposure to hazardous particulate matter found in dust deposits.

KSHB 41 News reached out to CAN for comment but did not receive one by the time of this publication.