EPA's 2005 National Air Toxins Assessment looks at human health impacts from estimated, chronic air toxin exposure

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 07:14.

EPA's 2005 National Air Toxins Assessment human cancer risk from estimated, chronic inhalation exposures based on emissions data from the 2005 National Emissions Inventory for hazardous air pollutants, assuming these emissions remain constant throughout one's lifetime
EPA's 2005 National Air Toxins Assessment looks at human health impacts from estimated, chronic inhalation exposures based on emissions data from the
2005 National Emissions Inventory for hazardous air pollutants, assuming these emissions remain constant throughout one's lifetime

On March 11, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a press release (below) and held conference calls supporting release of the fourth update of the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) - a computer tool that helps federal, state, local governments and other stakeholders better understand the potential health risks from exposure to air toxics.  The EPA  states: "the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) contains 2005 emissions data submitted primarily from the states for 178 pollutants. Models are used to make broad estimates of health risks for areas of the country.  The tool is not designed to determine actual health risks to individuals living in these areas." "Because the data submitted varies from state to state, it is also not possible to use the data to compare risks between different areas of the country."

As someone who lives in Cleveland, Ohio, which the Federal EPA and their NATA prove is highly polluted and unhealthy, I truly appreciate access to all environmental data management and mapping services the EPA may provide, as real-time as possible. These federal government tools offer citizens access to information that allows us to make better life-decisions - like where to live - and empowers us to be better environmental stewards - like shutting down coal pollution in our own backyards.

 

If we so choose to accept environmental reality, the EPA wants to make it easy for citizens to be informed and proactive about protecting their world, neighborhoods, and families. Under the Obama administration, with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, great effort is clearly placed on implementing good environmental science, and making it useful worldwide.

And, believe it or not, the only way we humanity shall save humanity from worse harm from pollution is by individual citizens being informed and proactive about protecting their world, neighborhoods, and families, as we make all the difference in the world.

 

Considerable effort has gone into collecting, maintaining, and presenting this NATA data to provide government and citizens access to life-saving understanding of the toxins in the environment around us... to make the environment healthier for humans and the planet. I recommend all citizens spend time exploring the links from the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) website - I've included some of the charts here for overview.

The maps above show that Cuyahoga County - especially around downtown Cleveland - has among the highest pollution-related cancer risks in America - the darkest blue - but that the risk is highly concentrated at our urban cores. Clearly, there are large areas of Ohio, north of Columbus and Southwest of Cleveland, where the air pollution risks are considerable lower... the air and life are healthier.

Ohio is not a toxic state - but Ohio has many cancers... especially at the urban cores... and those cancers must be reduced if not eliminated, one by one.

As each cancer is reduced or eliminated, the health of the surrounding residents, communities, the state and the world shall improve, in measurable ways.

The next step with data systems like NATA is to make the data more real-time and connect data on public health, education and economics to data on environment, to show how broad and absolute are the benefits of reductions in pollution on environmentally-disadvantaged places like Cleveland.

And, Cleveland is the perfect place to study and demonstrate this direct correlation, as we are in the process of making major improvements to our regional air quality, by eliminating many major point source polluters that currently burn coal at our urban core.

The same pattern of excessive pollution harm in our urban cores is seen for the NATA Respiratory Hazard Index - above and below - where large areas surrounding Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati are each relatively high-hazard, but much of the state is much lower risk. The most significant sources of the pollution increasing respiratory hazards in these communities include primary pollution from coal-fired power generation (increasing in Ohio and the Midwest) and industry (decreasing in Ohio and the Midwest), pollution from transportation (increasing, especially where sprawl has had significant impact) and even deforestation (natural carbon capture is decreasing in Ohio).

Long range transport of pollutants from distant industry and mobile sources, and secondary formation of new pollutants in the atmosphere, among those pollutants already accumulating in the atmosphere, altogether account for over half of the harm-causing toxins in the air we breathe.

Providing government, industry and residents of communities access to actual data on the toxins in the air we breathe, and the harm that causes citizens in the community, is the best first step to making a modern community - civilization - civilized. It is not civilized to have some people in a nation suffer from excessive environmental hazards and related ill health effects when we as a civilization have the science and knowledge to avoid that.

By looking at the maps provided by the EPA above, through NATA and other environmental monitoring and mapping services and capabilities, and drilling down into the data represented by these presentations - and NATA and other EPA data systems allow you to drill down to the public-record level - it is possible for a community to understand specifically what facilities cause what harm to citizens, and reduce the worst hazards.

In a community like Cleveland, with seemingly-overwhelming point source and mobile pollution and severe environmental injustice concerns, managing our specific hazards by responding to issues with granular environmental risk data, and mapping the benefits at the societal level, will insure better community health and safety practices, which shall benefit 1,000,000s of lives in very few years.

For example, there are two recent cases of industry and citizens using EPA environmental data to identify and eliminate major pollution point sources in Cleveland, which will improve the respiratory, cancer and other health outcomes for all residents in the region...

Exceptional News for NEO - FirstEnergy to Close Dirty Coal Burning Power Plants, including Lake Shore, on Lake Erie in Cleveland

Submitted by Norm Roulet on November 29, 2010 - 5:43am.

 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported today Birders to lose favorite perches, birds lose havens when 2 power plants close, whereby the PD takes some of the best economic development and public health news of Clevelanders' lifetimes - "plans by FirstEnergy Corp. to close lakefront power plants at East 72nd Street in Cleveland and in Eastlake in Lake County" (and two others on Lake Erie, apparently)

As I report there:

Calling the ecological harm of these First Energy coal-burning death-furnaces an "unnatural phenomenon" is beyond an understatement. Ohio power plants burn millions of tons of coal, creating millions of pounds of air, water and landfill pollution, as tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Release Inventory... for the Lakeshore Plant linked here, and featured below.

Highlights of Lakeshore toxic chemicals released into Lake Erie include 1128 pounds of barium compounds in 2009 - 16.3 pounds of lead compounds... 750 pounds of manganese compounds... .1 pounds of mercury compounds in 2003 (the last year with data listed for those compounds) - all certainly absorbed by area birds, fish... and people who eat them.

In addition to direct water pollution releases, in 2008 Lakeshore spewed 148,141 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air Clevelanders breathe - and sent 343,778 pounds of toxic compounds to landfills.

Over the last decade, Lakeshore sent into the SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOODS AND TRANS-BOUNDARY AIR 1,000s of pounds of Barium Compounds, over 100,000 pounds of Hydrochloric Acid, up to 350,000 pounds of Hydrogen Flouride, 100+ pounds of Lead Compounds, around 50 pounds of Mercury Compounds, 100,000s pounds of Sulfuric Acid, with some Dioxin and Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds on top... all in a typical operating year.

Add fly ash and coal dust fugitive emissions, and you start to understand no birds, birdwatchers, fish, fisherman, or citizens should live, work or play within 100s of miles of such a death trap.

Unfortunately, over 100,000 people (including my family members) live within three miles of this poison factory, and our demographics are a classic profile of environmental injustice victims in the impoverished shadows of dying post-industrial America - 90% minority... nearly 63% of households earning under $25,000 annually... 40% of residents below poverty level... less than 30% of population with any college education... 87% of housing built before 1970... less than 35% owner-occupied... 30%+ children.

It is no surprise the neighborhood immediately surrounding this plant - St. Clair Superior - has the highest childhood lead poisoning rates in Ohio, and perhaps America, at around 35% of children testing with elevated blood levels of lead in excess of 5 micro-grams per deciliter.

And, a second major victory for the health of the people of Northeast Ohio, and the planet:

1,000,000s of lives will be bettered in very few years - and I appreciated your help accomplishing this<!-- start main content -->

Submitted by Norm Roulet on February 20, 2011 - 10:56pm.

 

MCCO near complete - next steps

Norm Roulet <norm [dot] roulet [at] gmail [dot] com>     Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 12:40 PM
To: Chris Ronayne <Cronayne [at] universitycircle [dot] org>
Cc: hershel daniels <hersheldanielsjunior [at] gmail [dot] com>

Chris,

I'm pleased to see posted to the MCCO site that they are now committed to shutting down their coal boilers and will add no more. You should feel great satisfaction for this - 1,000,000s of lives will be bettered in very few years - and I appreciated your help accomplishing this.

On realNEO is further reported, about pollution from MCCO:

The following are the ten facilities in Cuyahoga County, as of 1999, releasing the most tons of particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less:

If you live near one of these facilities, you have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

As of 1999, the MCCo plant was among the 60-90% dirtiest/worst facilities in America for lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulates... I believe the annual PM-2.5 is low because the plant has reduced operations during warm weather.... 

The Scorecard for Medical Center Company:

There is shockingly little public data I may locate on the pollution caused by this facility, now and in the past. There is also little data on the health effects on surrounding neighbors, like my family members.

What is certain is that this facility has harmed the health of people in the community, and continues to do so today, and it is run to benefit a hospital where my father has been a physician for his entire career.

What is also certain is that eliminating the pollution from burning coal at LakeShore and MCCO will measurably reduce the toxins in the air we breathe, making us healthier, allowing us to live longer, more productive, better lives.

Raising the question, what should citizens of Northeast Ohio do next to save our own lives, the lives of those we love in the community, our community, and the world?

Hi Norm, I think we should take down Cleveland Thermal. Thoughts?<!-- start main content -->

Submitted by Norm Roulet on October 26, 2010 - 1:11am.

Cleveland Thermal is a major private out-of-state-investor-owned downtown Cleveland and regional air polluter that burns 10,000s tons of coal each year... emits 1,000s of tons of pollution on Clevelanders and the surrounding world each year... to benefit only large real estate investors and corporate, institutional and government customers - much like the private, out-of-license "district" coal-burning Medical Center Company (MCCO) plant polluting the community excessively a few miles away, in University Circle.


Medical Center Company (MCCO) coal powerplant in University Circle, harming residents and
workers in the densely populated and economically distressed surrounding neighborhood

REAL NEO...  YOU READ ABOUT MCCO HERE FIRST, AND WE ARE SHUTTING THEIR COAL-BURNING DOWN!

Now, read and believe this... the next step in really making the future better for Northeast Ohio and the world is taking down Cleveland Thermal.... and that will make the region and Cleveland truly safer and better for residents forever after... it will save lives here forever after.

 

The analysis indicates that even with the first phase of the CAIR rule in place, the nation’s power plants still cause a broad swath of death and disease across the coal-burning Midwest, the South and the Mid-Atlantic region. Table 2 shows state-level results for those states with the highest incidence of adverse impacts. Not surprisingly, states with large populations in close proximity to many coal-fired power plants fare the worst.

For the past year or so, the realNEO community and Sierra Club have been fighting renewal of licensing for the MCCO coal burning facility and it is safe to say that awareness and pressure we created have forced MCCO into a position where they will stop burning coal many years sooner than they had planned... and we derailed MCCO plans to expand burning of coal in their surrounding neighborhood.

Cleveland Thermal is a private coal-fired steam generation polluter, with several plants in downtown Cleveland, serving only commercial customers. They are remotely owned by Ancora Management LLC, an investment management company "that makes and manages investments for a private equity company in operating businesses such as Cleveland Thermal. Ancora is located in Greenwich, CT".  Their 1999 Pollution Emissions Scorecard here in Cleveland was one of the 10 worst in Cuyahoga County:

1999 Pollution Emissions Scorecard Cleveland Thermal

If you think the battle to shut down coal-burning at MCCO has been interesting, wait until we start the battle against coal burning at Cleveland Thermal.

Citizens of real NEO, we have an historic fight ahead, and we have just begun to fight.

I think we should take down Cleveland Thermal. Thoughts?

 

Dear Sierra Club President: Please Add Cleveland State University to your "Campuses Beyond Coal" Campaign and Begin Organizing!<!-- start main content -->

Submitted by Norm Roulet on February 24, 2011 - 10:47am.

Dear Sierra Club President and Nachy Kanfer - Campuses Beyond Coal:

Please Add Cleveland State University to your "Campuses Beyond Coal" Campaign and begin organizing against their primary energy provider, the astoundingly deadly, coal-polluting, private-investor-owned Cleveland Thermal coal furnace in the Cleveland Flats!

Cleveland State University (CSU) is the largest customer of Cleveland Thermal, and so must take a lead in moving this community beyond coal.

 

Dear President Obama, Thank you for coming to Cleveland to bring attention to environmental injustice in Northeast Ohio.<!-- start main content -->

Submitted by Norm Roulet on February 22, 2011 - 11:30am.

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for coming to Cleveland to bring attention to environmental injustice in Northeast Ohio.

I assume EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has briefed you that, in addition to being the most lead poisoned big city in America, we are one of the most polluted, unhealthy, and so undereducated places on Earth.

As you ride into Downtown Cleveland - the most lead poisoned big city in America (the world?) - you pass one of the most environmentally unjust industrial facilities in America - Arcelor Mittal's Cleveland Works steel production and processing superfund site (AKA the Cuyahoga River Valley) - and, as you meet with Ohio taxpayer-funded business development agents here, you sit in the shadows of the privately-polluting Cleveland Thermal district coal plant (owned by some shadow out-of-state investors, it appears) immediately downtown... providing excessively polluting heat to the very Wolstein Center where you shall hold your small business conference today... "Cleveland Thermal’s largest customer is Cleveland State University (CSU)" (and they don't care).

 

Independence of the day: May the people of NEO find freedom from "Cleveland Works"<!-- start main content -->

Submitted by Norm Roulet on July 4, 2006 - 10:28am.

Mittal Cleveland Works

 

December 7, 2001, was the greatest independence day in the history of Cleveland, when a hopefully new real NEO economy received the greatest gift imaginable with the closing of the toxin-spewing 1,200 acre LTV brownfields in the flats. This gave NEO's 1,000,000s of citizens independence from asthma and cancer and the freedom to breath clean air, redevelop a new city worth of prime real estate where the sprawling LTV-cyst finally sat idle, and the opportunity to resuscitate entire communities in the former LTV pollution fall-out zones spanning from Central and Slavic Village east to Brooklyn and Valley View south to Tremont and Ohio City west, literally saving the lives of 100,000s of our citizens and making Northeast Ohio more attractive to all who seek a good home and place to raise children. The freedom to breath was felt immediately, and for six months Northeast Ohio was a far better region.

Canary in the Mittal Minefield

But the politicians and industrialists would have none of that clean air and good health for their people - they marched across bridges, held town halls and plotted, and venture capitalists swooped into Richfield with promise of foreigner-charity, and $ billions changed hands at huge profit to a few, and in a few wretched years we went from enjoying the gift of breathing the cleanest air in our modern times to suffering from the worst imaginable health conditions, with steel literally raining on our communities, and unimaginably worse toxic blight expectations ahead. The promise to the citizens in all of this was that it would "save" 3,200 good jobs, which it certainly did not... it seems there are now around 1,200 Clevelanders working for the now-Indian-billionaire-owned hell-furnace and they are far from treated well, and have far from good jobs. What was preserved in all of this was great wealth for those in shipping, and port operation, and trucking, and railroads, and perhaps fast food and some service sector businesses in the periphery of the toxic site. But at what cost to the neighboring businesses, the plant workers, and the rest of the region?

Consider, from Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental organization, with 100,000 dues-paying members:

  The Cleveland Works is the single largest polluter of the air and water in Cuyahoga County, according to reports submitted to the Ohio EPA. It released 76 million pounds of air pollution in 2003 (Source: ISG 2003 Title V fee emissions report).The plant sits on the Cuyahoga River, and discharges 100,000 pounds of pollution into the river (Source: Ohio EPA Toxics Release Inventory, 2001). New data submitted to the Ohio EPA show that the asthma and cancer-causing pollution has risen over 30% from 2003 to 2004. Because the plant is so close to Lake Erie, both its air and water pollution can endanger the lake. Since the steel mill reopened, pollution problems in nearby neighborhoods have included metal flakes and soot covering people's cars and homes, nauseating odors including strong sulfur smells, loud noises, and visible orange and yellow clouds coming from the stacks.

So here was the cost to real NEO in 2003 for the 1,200 "good" jobs that came from all the politicing, and town halling, and backroom dealing, and foreign venture capitaling, per job, in 2003 - and for 2004 we know "the asthma and cancer-causing pollution has risen over 30% from 2003 to 2004" so it is imaginable the results are much worse today, in 2006:

  •  72,500 pounds of air pollution spewed upon our neighborhoods per Mittal employee, in 2003
  • ... that's 31.25 tons of air pollution per employee in 2003
  • 83.3 pounds of pollution discharged into the Cuyahoga River and so Lake Erie per employee in 2003
  • 1 acre of land kept out of clean, sustainable development per employee
  • ... that's 43,560 square feet of blight per employee
 
So that was just the raw pollution emissions cost to real NEO citizens in 2003 for the 1,200 "good" jobs that came from all the politicking, and town halling, and backroom dealing, and foreign venture capitalizing, per job, in 2003. But Ohio Citizen Action data finds that "the asthma and cancer-causing pollution has risen over 30% from 2003 to 2004" so it is imaginable the results are much worse today, in 2006. But, just looking at 2004, consider the cost in health harming pollutions per Mittal employee:
  • Small particles (invisible; can damage lungs): 801.82 pounds per employee
  • Large particles (visible soot and flakes; can cause property damage): 343.3 pounds per employee
  • Sulfur dioxide: 1,236.65 pounds per employee
  • Organic chemicals: 185.83 pounds per employee
  • Volatile organic compounds: 185.83 pounds per employee
  • Lead: .2 pounds per employee

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    March 11, 2011

    EPA Updates National Air Toxics Assessment

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the fourth update of a computer tool that helps federal, state, local governments and other stakeholders better understand the potential health risks from exposure to air toxics.  The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) contains 2005 emissions data submitted primarily from the states for 178 pollutants. Models are used to make broad estimates of health risks for areas of the country.  The tool is not designed to determine actual health risks to individuals living in these areas.

    Because the data submitted varies from state to state, it is also not possible to use the data to compare risks between different areas of the country.

    The assessment shows that EPA, the states, and industry are continuing to make progress to reduce air toxic emissions. Between 1990 and 2005, air toxic emissions were reduced by about 42 percent from industrial and mobile sources.

    NATA is used to identify which geographic areas, pollutants and types of emission sources might need closer investigation to more fully characterize potential risks and determine if actions may need to be taken to protect public health. EPA can also use the assessment to work with communities to design their own local assessment, improve the agency’s emissions inventories and identify priorities for expanding the air toxics monitoring network.  Once risks are fully characterized, state air agencies can decide if steps should be taken to reduce air toxics emissions.

    Under the Clean Air Act, EPA issues standards for industrial and mobile sources of air toxic emissions. These sources emit millions of tons of toxic air emissions that can cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological impacts.
    
    More information on NATA and instructions on using the tool: http://www.epa.gov/nata2005

    Note: If a link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a browser.

EPA's National Air Toxics Assessment Roll-Out Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the fourth update of a computer tool that helps federal, state, local governments and other stakeholders better understand the potential health risks from exposure to air toxics. The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) contains 2005 emissions data submitted primarily from the states for 178 pollutants.

Please join today's informational and question & answer session regarding the 2005 National Air Toxics Assessment.

State/local/tribal

# Conference Call Date & Time: Friday, 11 March, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST
# Participant Dial-In Number: 888-273-3506
# Conference ID: 5118 6668
# Webinar Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/445754441

Enviro/EJ/Health

# Conference Call Date & Time: Friday, 11 March, 2011 at 1:00 PM EST
# Participant Dial-In Number: 888-273-3506
# Conference ID: 5118 9451
# Webinar Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/744008984

Industry

# Conference Call Date & Time: Friday, 11 March, 2011 at 2:00 PM EST
# Participant Dial-In Number: 888-273-3506
# Conference ID: 5157 0893
# Webinar Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/803301592

Ted Palma, Dave Guinnup and Kelly Rimer, with EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, will first give a brief presentation on the fourth update to the assessment and then walk through a tutorial on using the computer-based tool. To watch the tutorial, please join the webinar using the information listed below. Following the tutorial we will open the call for questions.

To sign up for the webinar portion of today's call, please visit: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/445754441 After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

More information on NATA and instructions on using the tool: http://www.epa.gov/nata2005

If you are not already a member, the Office of Environmental Justice would like to invite you to join the EJ ListServ. The purpose of this information tool is to notify individuals about activities at EPA in the field of environmental justice. By subscribing to this list you will receive information on EPA's activities, programs, projects grants and about environmental justice activities at other agencies. Noteworthy news items, National meeting announcements, meeting summaries of NEJAC meetings, and new publication notices will also be distributed. Postings can only be made by the Office of Environmental Justice. To request an item to be posted, send your information to environmental-justice [at] epa [dot] gov and indicate in the subject “Post to EPA-EJ ListServ”

To join the listserv go to: https://lists.epa.gov/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=epa-ej

 

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I'm going to request an analysis of our positive pollution

I'm going to request an analysis of our positive pollution and health impacts with the toxic coal emissions from FirstEnergy Lakeshore + MCCO + Cleveland Thermal + Mittal each eliminated - I believe the picture that will show citizens will be very educational for real NEO and the world, with potential pollution reductions - and impacts on the short term economy - expressed in life-years saved over decades - soon $ billions in positive economic benefits per year...

Disrupt IT