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EPA Gives Grant to NJDEP for Air Toxics Monitoring Project

Release Date: 01/18/2005
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For Release: Tuesday, January 18, 2005
(#05003) PATERSON, New Jersey -- Advancing its work protecting the health of children and addressing concerns of communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $500,000 grant to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Exit EPA disclaimerfor an Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project (UCAMPP). DEP will measure and track air toxics coming from industrial, commercial and mobile sources in the highly industrialized urban community of Paterson, New Jersey, the third largest city in the state. The information collected will help environmental officials better address public exposure to, and risk from, toxic air pollutants.

"New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection had one of the strongest applications for the air toxics monitoring grant in the country," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Kathleen Callahan. "The first step in addressing harmful exposure to air toxins is understanding the risks. This project will further both Agencies' work to address the concerns of communities in industrialized areas."

"This monitoring project is a good example of governments working together for a common cause: protecting the health of residents exposed to hazardous air pollutants in industrialized urban areas," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "This air toxic initiative is particularly important in Paterson, where children suffer from a higher rate of asthma and are the most vulnerable to air pollution."

The DEP, along with the Environmental Occupational Health and Sciences Institute Exit EPA disclaimer, will use advanced techniques to measure air toxics. Air toxics are also called hazardous air pollutants, which are pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects or adverse environmental impacts. DEP will then examine data to determine the concentration of the air toxics, identify the sources, field test new sampling and analysis techniques, characterize the environmental justice concerns and
develop tools so that the DEP and the local community can identify risk reduction strategies.

DEP and EPA selected Paterson, in Passaic County, for the Air Toxics Monitoring Project because it is an urban community with a high population density and an elevated level of asthma in children living in the area. With the grant, DEP will place three new monitoring stations in the area. In order to facilitate the assessment of children's exposure to the harmful effects of air toxics, two of the monitoring stations will be at Paterson public schools one at Public School #10 on Mercer Street in Paterson and the other at Public School #2 located on Passaic Street in Paterson. The Environmental Occupational Health and Sciences Institute will hire high school student interns to assist with the sampling efforts. DEP will also hire high school students to help take samples and will teach the students about the nature of air toxics, how they are regulated and the health risks they pose.

The other monitoring station will be in a commercial area. Paterson has a high level of commercial activity with its many dry-cleaning, photo labs, commercial heating/boilers, salons and print shops. In addition, major highways contribute to emissions from cars, trucks and buses, and metal fabrication industries add to industrial emissions. These are all factors that can potentially degrade air quality.

This study will serve as a pilot project so NJDEP and the local community can better address exposure and risk issues related to air toxics. NJDEP's partnership with the Environmental Occupational Health and Sciences Institute will enable the development of new and advanced ways for measuring air toxics.