Filed Under:  Letter to the Editor, Opinion

A Change In The Air

18th December 2017   ·   0 Comments

Louisianians feel the punishing effects of chemicals in our air that leave some communities seeing cancer risks at over 800 times the national average for lifetime risk of cancer from air pollution, and brutally high asthma rates as well.

The EPA ranks LaPlace, Louisiana, as the area with the highest risk for its residents to develop cancer from air toxins in the nation. The EPA also ranked Louisiana the fifth most toxic state in the nation for 2016, and the CDC named it the state with the third-highest rate of new cancers in 2014.

These affected people, our neighbors, family members, friends, live in “fence-line communities” — neighborhoods nestled close to major air pollution-emitting facilities. The technology exists to access real-time air quality data from emitting facilities that can: (1) accurately tell us if the chemical emission is actually coming from that facility; what chemical is being emitted, how much, and for how long; and (2) alert first responders, schools, daycares, and local citizens so they can respond and stay safe. Many other facilities already use this technology.

We need this information. Our industries need to know when toxic emissions are coming from their facilities, as well as when they are not; our regulators need to know which facilities need to reduce toxic air emissions; and our communities need to be warned when a facility has an event that causes a threat to public health.

We are aware of the economic impact of industrial facilities on Louisiana, but we are also aware that their emissions pose health issues.

– Julie Rosenzweig
Director, Sierra Club Delta Chapter

This article originally published in the December 18, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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