CleanAirNow (CAN) has a long history of air quality monitoring in Argentine, a neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, and will soon expand that work in collaboration with the community using new powerful air pollution monitors.
CleanAirNow was formed in 2012 as the Diesel Health Project, and in response to local concerns that Argentine was overburdened with multiple sources of pollution, began monitoring air pollution in the community the following year.
CAN monitored air pollution in neighborhoods around the BNSF Argentine rail yard, and found levels of black carbon, a marker for diesel exhaust pollution, high enough to risk causing cardiovascular health problems and fatalities. For more information, see our study report, Argentine/Turner Diesel Exhaust Air Pollution Monitoring: Final Report
This work triggered a comprehensive monitoring project by the EPA, the Kansas City Transportation and Local-Scale Air Quality Study (KC-TRAQS). CleanAirNow is in the process of analyzing data from this project.
Air pollution increases deaths from COVID-19. For more information, see the excellent article, Like COVID-19, the burden of air pollution is not evenly shared in Kansas and Missouri, published in The Beacon.
In an effort to address the growing concerns for public health and air pollution, CleanAirNow will soon install two AeroQual monitors to measure PM2.5, ozone, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in Argentine. This work will contribute to our ongoing community organizing efforts in the Building Community Power On The Frontlines: Silver City project.
According to NASA, ground-level ozone is formed when NOx and volatile organic compounds react together in the sunlight. These reactions are especially active near sites of pollution from sources such as factories and transportation, which makes ozone particularly problematic in cities. Ozone is distinctly dangerous for children and elderly people. It can cause COPD, trigger asthma attacks, inflame and damage the airways, and other respiratory problems. As stated in the article from The Beacon, Kansas City received an “F” for its ozone grade in April of 2019, and this problem has yet to be addressed.
The availability of these air monitors from AeroQual will allow for continual monitoring in the Argentine community, and will provide valuable information on health risks. These air monitors show a very strong correlation with Federal Reference Monitors (FRM) and Federal Equivalent Monitors (FEM). This will allow communities in Kansas City to obtain and use the data to advocate for policies that improve public health.