Gasp Launches New Online Air Quality Tool

Gasp Launches New Online Air Quality Tool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gasp Launches New Online Air Quality Tool

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 5, 2017) — In an effort to reduce exposure to the harmful health effects of air pollution, Gasp this week announced that it has released a new online tool for users to get the current and next day’s air quality for the Birmingham area.

The Air Quality Widget displays the current air quality index, or AQI, with a corresponding color code based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow data. It updates twice per hour. The …

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EPA Issues Final Cross State Air Pollution Rule

EPA Issues Final Cross State Air Pollution Rule

On September 7, 2016, The EPA finalized Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) in the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update to address air quality impacts of the interstate transport of ozone air pollution in the eastern United States.

CSAPR addresses summertime (May through September) transport of ozone pollution in the Eastern U.S. that crosses state lines. CSAPR aims to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides from power plants in 22 states, including Alabama, that contribute to downwind ozone problems.

The final version will not take effect until May …

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Study Finds Air Pollution’s Damage to Lungs, Heart and Brain Underestimated

Study Finds Air Pollution’s Damage to Lungs, Heart and Brain Underestimated

“Air pollution has emerged as a significant contributor to global stroke burden, especially in low-income and middle-income countries, and therefore reducing exposure to air pollution should be one of the main priorities to reduce stroke burden in these countries.”

That’s the summary of a newly published study in the journal Lancet Neurology. Researchers blame dirty air for nearly one-third of the global stroke burden is attributable to air pollution.

Other risk factors included: high blood pressure, low fruit intake, high body mass index (BMI), high sodium intake, smoking, low vegetable intake, …

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What’s In The Air We Breathe? Understanding Air Toxics & Risk

What’s In The Air We Breathe? Understanding Air Toxics & Risk

Birmingham’s air quality has improved since the days when thick orange-brown clouds enveloped the city, but our air is still far from healthy. In the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report, Birmingham ranked 16th in annual particle pollution and 23rd in high ozone days. Air pollution is typically grouped into two categories: Criteria Air Pollutants and Hazardous Air Pollutants (Air Toxics)

Criteria Air Pollutants

The Clean Air Act requires the U.S. EPA to set emissions standards for what are known as criteria air pollutants. The …

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New Ozone Standards Will Protect Children, Elderly

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released a long-awaited new air quality health standard for ground-level ozone, or smog. This announcement is welcome news for thousands of Alabamians young and old who want to live a healthy life.

The EPA set the new threshold at 70 parts per billion, down from the previous level of 75 ppb set in 2008. Regulated under the Clean Air Act, ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that forms when sunlight mixes with emissions from cars, power plants, and factories. The EPA’s Scientific …

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BREAKING: Board of Health Denies Gasp’s Request for a Hearing on Walter Coke Air Permit

BREAKING: Board of Health Denies Gasp’s Request for a Hearing on Walter Coke Air Permit

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — July 8, 2015 — The Jefferson County Board of Health, the governing body of the Department of Health (JCDH), voted tonight to dismiss a request by Gasp for a hearing on the issuance of a key air pollution permit for the Walter Coke facility in Harriman Park in northern Birmingham. The facility, which is owned by the financially troubled Walter Energy Company, is one of five named “potentially responsible parties” by the EPA for toxic contamination in the area.

In light of the …

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Citizen Science Movement Can Help Solve Birmingham’s Pollution Problem

Citizen Science Movement Can Help Solve Birmingham’s Pollution Problem

On Tuesday, I sent a letter to Heather McTeer Toney, EPA Region IV administrator, asking that her agency invest in “next generation” air monitoring in Birmingham to gather data, empower citizens and improve public health for northern Birmingham communities. “It has been established that the ambient air quality in northern Birmingham communities is unhealthy,” I wrote, “despite claims from local regulatory agencies to the contrary.”

Residents in northern Birmingham communities have known for decades that the soot covering their homes is likely affecting their health. Recent …

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Board of Health Dismisses Gasp’s Request for Hearing on ABC Coke Permit

Board of Health Dismisses Gasp’s Request for Hearing on ABC Coke Permit

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011 named ABC Coke — one of Alabama’s worst toxic air polluters — a potentially responsible party for contamination in northern Birmingham. ABC Coke’s Title V Operating Permit was up for renewal last year, and Gasp organized nearby communities and helped residents file comments on the proposed permit.

However, the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) re-issued ABC Coke’s permit without significant changes on Aug. 11, 2014, missing a key opportunity to reduce air pollution and protect the health of …

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Update on Gasp’s Appeal of the ABC Coke Permit

Update on Gasp’s Appeal of the ABC Coke Permit

Gasp has been raising awareness of the toxic air pollution affecting Birmingham since our inception. As soon as the EPA named the potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) for the contamination in the 35th Avenue Superfund Site, we got to work advocating for stronger Title V air pollution permits, regulatory transparency, and accountability for decades of environmental injustice.

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Last year, the permits for two of those PRPs — ABC Coke and Walter Coke — were up for renewal with JCDH, so we activated the surrounding …

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Reducing Air Pollution Improves Children's Lung Health

“The current report and other studies suggest that further improvement in air quality may have beneficial public health effects.”

This month, a study of the long-term effects of air pollution found that improving air quality also improves the respiratory function of children.

The seemingly obvious conclusion is an outcome of the University of Southern California’s Children’s Health Study, one of the “largest and most detailed studies” of the health effects of dirty air. The research was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the CHS website, researchers found found that:

Days …

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