BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Health concerns about trucks and the air neighbors near the Peace Bridge breathe have been idling for years. State health officials say the air around the plaza is safe, but environmental activists still do not agree.
The state wants to compare the quality of the air as it exists now at the Peace Bridge plaza to what it will be like after the plaza is redesigned, moving traffic more quickly on the I-190. Monitors were placed at Front Park and at a plot of land at Busti and Vermont over a six month period ending in March.
The results, says the DEC, show "no significant differences between air quality in the plaza neighborhood and the City of Buffalo overall."
But the Clean Air Coalition disagrees.
Natasha Soto said, "I think because of the politics that are happening, we have to question the validity of the report."
Two summers ago the Clean Air Coalition did its own air monitoring the plaza area, and it says the results were troubling. The samples found elevates levels of toxins, including benzene, which Soto says poses a danger to residents who are exposed for long periods of time.
Activists have linked diesel exhaust from idling trucks to higher rates of respiratory illness and asthma documented in previous studies on Buffalo's west side.
Ana Martinez lived just blocks from the plaza for 10 years before she suffered a collapsed lung, and she says the three children she raised here all have asthma.
"[The doctors] told me it was all the thing(s) in the air and then they put a monitor in my apartment and there was a lot of black stuff there," she said.
The DEC did not respond to our request for comment.
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