Peace Bridge air quality study finds conditions meet federal standards

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some west side residents living near the Peace Bridge are still concerned about potential health risks and the levels of air pollutants from cars.

“For the past five or six years, on Monday mornings I take a baby onesie, a white under shirt and I wipe the three screens on my living room windows on my front porch and they are absolutely dripping in black from soot and oil,” says Kathleen Mecca, resident living near the Peace Bridge.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation conducted a year-long air quality study and released their findings Tuesday.

“We were able to detect ultra fine particles, very small particles and black carbon as well as PM2.5 are higher at Busti Avenue and lower when they get further into the neighborhood,” says Dirk Felton, MYS DEC research scientist.

The DEC says their study indicated that air quality near the Peace Bridge is consistent with levels found in other similar sized metropolitan areas and meets federal standards.

Felton told News 4, because the DEC is not a health agency, they won’t know the health impacts until the year 2021.

Residents say they are frustrated not knowing the health concerns and that they could be living in an environment that’s toxic.

“They’re building more infrastructures and we believe it’s to support an expansion of the Peace Bridge plaza which is coming very soon, pushing this emission, this toxic emission deeper into our community, making more people sick,” said Mecca.

The DEC says they found four air toxins above guideline concentrations. They say these toxins are consistently found above these guidelines in all locations of the state, even rural state park locations.

The DEC says they will continue monitoring pollutants at both locations near the Peace Bridge and will compare them to sites across the country.

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