Archive for December 19th, 2005

Industrial air pollution in Indiana

air pollutionSeveral papers have run stories over the last week highlighting the dangerous levels of air pollution in our state. As reported in the Louisville Courier Journal:

The AP analyzed records from the Environmental Protection Agency, which tracked air releases reported by industrial plants to calculate health risk scores for every community across the country. The scores are based on the amount of toxic pollution released, the path the pollution takes as it spreads through the air and the danger each chemical poses to people.

The report is disturbing in its implications. Among the specific findings are:

    - Indiana ranks fourth in the nation for the health risks its residents face from exposure to industrial air pollution.
    - In Indiana, 222 census tracts in 31 counties were ranked among the nation’s worst 5 percent for air pollution-related health risks.
    - Minorities are one and a half times more likely to live in communities where air pollution leads to serious health problems.

The story says the Indiana Manufacturing Association “cautioned that air data can be misinterpreted and can be affected by human reporting errors or unrelated medical conditions.”

While it is true that some air data can be misinterpreted, it can also be a good indicator of future problems. I am attempting to address this situation in one of the bills I am introducing this year. Once I get the bill draft, I will post more about my idea and potential ways to address the problem of industrial air pollution.

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