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EPA Provides Money to Help Find More Answers for Paterson, NJ Community

Release Date: 02/11/2010
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Advancing its work protecting human health and addressing concerns of vulnerable communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced $158,000 in new funding for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to conduct additional air monitoring in Paterson (Passaic County), N.J. after an earlier EPA funded study showed elevated levels of 8 air toxics in the local environment. The information collected will help environmental officials better address public exposure to, and risk from, hazardous air pollutants.

Under an earlier Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project, funded with $495,000 of EPA grant money, the NJDEP tracked air toxics coming from industrial, commercial and mobile sources in the highly industrialized urban community of Paterson, the state’s third most populous city. Air toxics, also called hazardous air pollutants, are pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects or adverse environmental impacts. Paterson has a high population density and an elevated level of asthma in children living in the area.

“We are glad to do our part to address the health concerns of the Paterson community and ensure that we reduce pollution in highly vulnerable areas,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Reducing exposure to such toxins is a part of EPA’s mission. The further air monitoring that we are funding will help NJDEP identify and eliminate significant emissions of air toxics that can threaten the health of the community. Air monitoring is an effective tool which helps us assess air quality and protect people’s health.”

Out of the 132 air toxics that were measured during the Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project, p-dichlorobenzene concentrations were significantly elevated at one of the monitoring locations in Paterson compared to the other monitoring locations in Paterson and around the state. Seven other air toxics were also elevated at all three sites in Paterson. The annual average of these eight air toxics (benzene, ethyl benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, chloromethane, tetrachloroethylene, and p-dichlorobenzene) indicate some health concerns based on the state’s health guidance levels.

Upon conclusion of the new air monitoring, the data will be analyzed by the state and NJDEP will share its results with the community.

To learn more about EPA’s efforts to reduce air pollution in NJ, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/air.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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