The Origins of REALNEO
Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Short-Term Exposure To Fine Particle Air Pollution Can Drive Up High Blood Pressure, Raise Risk Of Heart Attack
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 09/17/2009 - 03:50.
It recently came to my attention that one of the most serious sources of pollution in Cuyahoga County is literally in my back yard. Less than two kilometers upwind from my home are the coal and natural gas fired external boilers at the power plant shown above, at University Hospitals, operated by Medical Center Company (MCCo), polluting the surrounding neighborhoods since the 1930s.
From the MCCo website, "For more than 75 years we’ve successfully provided steam, electrical power, compressed air, vacuum, hot-soft water and chilled water to each of our members. Our primary focus has been to maintain and service the equipment necessary to provide reliable, low-cost utility services to our member institutions."
Actually, from the MCCo home page... "The Medical Center Company quietly yet efficiently provides the power behind each of the facilities within University Circle." So, there is a huge and astoundingly powerful institutional partnership behind this enterprise, which seems to include just about everyone in Northeast Ohio who is anybody.
What they are partners doing is explained in the benefits section of the MCCo website:
I love how even polluting in University Circle "stimulates the economy".
Their shit don't stink.
These people may do no wrong, which is what makes this situation so wrong.
Nearly every leader in NEO is wrong, here... and that includes nearly all our planners, economists, academics and supposed environmentalists, all beholden to University Circle insitutions and their funders, like the area Foundations behind all our planning in the region.
So MCCo saves its institutional, tax-exempt partners something like $16 million a year by selling them "district power" for lower cost than is available to the public, by burning coal in cheaper ways than public utilities may, and polluting more in the process.
Here is how that is actually reflected, in impact on the community...
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....
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.
Knowing the truth, our family does not approve.
What is uncertain is the actual "benefit" of MCCo to anyone, considering the harm it has caused the environment and area residents and core institutional stakeholders.
The area around the powerplant that is not controlled by University Circle is quite blighted and unhealthy. Perhaps this is the primary reason why?!
Further, if this plant is harming University Circle stakeholders, like students, faculty, doctors, and staff at dozens of huge institutions within 100s of yards, like it is harming the residents in the surrounding community, then it is not worth the cost savings for even the few institutions that appear to benefit, considering the physical harm to their stakeholders and all.
As one of the neighbors harmed, I contend one life harmed is not worth the $16 million a year saved by these institutions.
As a lifelong member of the University Circle family that is justification for this plant, I can say I do not want the burden of the harm it causes on my soul and conscious. My other family members agree.
Consider disturbing research from the University of Michigan - "Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease" - which reports "researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have determined the very air we breathe can be an invisible catalyst to heart disease".
From this report (video report above):
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.
This heart disease risk is in addition to increased risk of asthma, cancer and many other fatal conditions caused by pollution, and reflected in poor health and early death of those living near such facilities, which are concentrated in industrial, urban centers like Cleveland.
Why "we" are building new, high cost housing near these pollution sources, like in Tremont and University Circle, is beyond logical explanation. That we are using public money for such "Strategic Investment Initiatives", rather than addressing pollution sources, is beyond belief.
Consider trends in America and especially in polluted places like Cleveland with Asthma, as reported on the Environmental Healthwatch website:
From the old NeighborhoodLink website is more on the growing Asthma crisis, which may be caused and triggered by pollution:
Whether even growing food near such pollution sources makes sense is an important question I do not see being addressing in this local foods happy community.
In fact, Cleveland's Cuyahoga County is one of the most dangerous counties in America for nearly all environmental factors.
I became aware of the current MCCo power plant because the powers that benefit from this plant want to build another one, less than one kilometer from my home, within the next five years. That got me looking into the people behind the powerplants, who have been deceiving the community.
I have not seen anything in writing about this new powerplant, but have seen "signs" and been told it is coming by the mayor of East Cleveland. It is apparently planned for East Cleveland, northeast of "University Circle", to move pollution further from University Circle stakeholders, and more into my neighborhood.
The word being spread on the streets in the target neighborhood, by workers on the target site, is that it will be a "medical facility", which would only really apply if the "owners", which we assume ar MMCo, will use it to study the impact of pollution on living things nearby.
That it seems this new powerplant is being kept secret from the neighborhood where it is intended to be built, but seems to be known by most area leaders, raises serious questions about the will of area leaders to protect public health over major insititutonal interests.
There is no real "environmental movement" in Northeast Ohio, and the "sustainability movement" is based at Case, the Cleveland Museum of Natual History, and the Botanical Gardens, based in University Circle, which are all customers of MCCo, and so polluters, leaving protecting the environment entirely up to citizens, against the establishment.
The University Circle establishment will fight hard to save $160 million over 10 years. Hell, they kill for that money.
Which raises the question, what other pollution issues do area leaders hide from the public.
It seems to me many, and that seems the reason our economy has in fact failed here, and will not come back in our pollution-shortened lifetimes... that is the 800 pound gorilla in the region's economy that no leaders ever want to talk about.
AKA, the powerful Ohio and US coal industry, and their big-coal Governor of Ohio, and all their deals in Northeast Ohio and Washington.
University Circle buys dirty Ohio coal and pollutes the old fashoned way, and gets lots of Third Frontier money from Columbus in return. So, University Circle institutions get a far bigger payout from coal power than $160 million in savings over 10 years, as Columbus offers great rewards for keeping dirty coal in demand and legitimate in this uncivilized world.
Nobody wants to live near pollution that they know about.
People unwittingly may live near pollution they don't know about, until it kills them. That is unfair.
As people become unhealthy and die off from pollution, their neighborhoods fail. That has happened all over Cleveland, because of industrial pollution like from MCCO. And the neighborhoods around the MCCO plant are dead, dead, dead.
Learning about the connection between air pollution and heart disease, which is an early killer in my family, and asthma, which hurts one of my daughters, and lead poisoning, which effects two sons, and then reading an article I saw recently on REALNEO about high uranium levels in people living near coal plants in India, has me worried about the health consequences of living near the existing Medical Center Company powerplant, and the harm it may have caused my neighborhood over the past 75 years, and the harm it may be causing my family and neighbors today.
Consider new harm being found caused by new coal power plants in India, through thorough scientific investigation:
Considering the MCCo coal plant in University Circle - a few 100 yards from Little Italy - has been operating since the 1930s... and has not historically been a particularly clean plant... it is obvious to be concerned about what happened to the 75 years of flyash generated... was it used for fill in developing the area, or paving roads, like in India?
Does my neighborhood have high levels of uranium?
Do we know what other pollution this plant has spread in the community, and what pollution it spreads in the community, day to day?
Such questions are being researched about other coal-fired pollution sources, in other parts of Ohio, and may be researched here.
It does not appear there is significant, systematic monitoring of pollution near the MMCo plant, now. But EPA modelling of lead contamination at other pollution sources in the region, like the illustration below for Ellwood Engineering Castings, in Hubbard, Ohio, gives some signs of the type of lead fallout that may have occurred around the MMCo plant, over the decades... and may continue today... putting heavy metals and other pollutants in area soil and residents. The inner square below represents a 16 square kilometer monitoring area, with monitors every 50 meters. There are hotspots.
Just knowing this pollution source is around the corner is very stressful. That there are plans to build a second pollution source like this in my neighborhood makes living here hopeless, pointless, and ultimately disasterous. That this polluting is being done in secret, by supposed friends and representatives, is disgraceful
My wife just contacted the Cuyahoga County property assessors office to request a significant property valuation reduction for our property near the MCCo plant, based on facts we have uncovered about current MCCo pollution and plans for a future power plant in our neighbohood. Her letter includes the following:
I actually believe people living near such pollution sources should be given tax exemptions, as it is hard to say being killed by your leadership is of value worth paying taxes to fund... paying taxes for poor inner-city education of your lower I.Q. children lead poisoned by their community seems an outrage.
That so many people who are supposed to look out for the public seem to be hiding so much about all this pollution, and the fact they are planning aspects of their polluting in secret, makes me distrust these people "in the know" entirely. We trusted them with our well being, and are their victims.
Those who know about all this know who they are... we should know who they are, as well.
I am quite confident the people in the know include all our "leaders" planning anything "Greater" University Circle, and "Opportunity Corridor", and "Strategic Investment Initiative", and "Sustainable Cleveland", like leadership at the City of Cleveland, major area Foundations, the GCP and Fund for our Economic Future, our many Development Corporations, University Circle Incorporated, the Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Case Western Reserve University and other area universities, and other institutions throughout University Circle, and others planning the "sustainability" of our region.
Are you in the know?