September 4, 2013
The Environmental Integrity Project, in partnership with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) and Air Alliance Houston are measuring fine particulate and volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution around the Houston Ship Channel. Fine particulate matter are very small particles that, because of their size, can be absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled, and contribute to respiratory ailments and premature death from heart and lung disease. VOCs are highly reactive chemicals that form smog, and long-term exposure to some compounds (benzene and hexane) may cause cancer or contribute to other serious illness. Our goal is to measure the pollutant levels in the Manchester neighborhood, a Latino community that is surrounded by petrochemical facilities and other heavy industry, and to determine whether additional steps might be necessary to reduce exposure to those pollutants. EIP is also carrying out a similar monitoring project in the Curtis Bay neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. We hope to be able to develop these two projects into a model that can be adopted in other communities which are disproportionately exposed to industrial pollution.
Our project was recently covered by the Houston Chronicle, for a copy of the article click here.