Rubbertown Activists Bring in High Tech Pollution Monitor to Find Dangerous Polluter Hot Spots

The Justice Resource Center with assistance from Greenpeace and the Refinery Reform Campaign has expanded its Bucket Brigade air monitoring project with the latest in high technology, real time air pollution monitoring. Greenpeace activists have come to Louisville this week equipped with a special Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) device to gather air samples and analyze the pollution data in virtual real time.

"The early returns of the air monitoring show that high levels of many poisonous chemicals are released on a continuous, long term basis from Rubbertown plants; it isn't a short term exposure issue," said Reverend Louis Coleman of the Justice Resource Center (JRC)."This is the type of testing that EPA must provide, so that the guilty facilities are caught, made to reduce their pollution and are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We are calling upon the EPA today to bring their toxic air testing bus to Louisville on a emergency basis."

Greenpeace has been operating the FTIR device unannounced in Rubbertown since Monday, September 15, 2003. Over 4,000 data points of air releases have been gathered after 37 hours of stationary and mobile air sampling. Alarming concentrations of chlorodifluoromethane, hexane, and a chloronated benzene compound have been found in the preliminary analysis. Further testing will be done and a complete analysis released at a later date.

The FTIR machine, which is being rented by Greenpeace from the Midac Corporation of Costa Mesa, California can produce extensive pollution data on a variety number of chemicals. FTIR air monitors have passed federal government standards for approved testing methods and is approved by the EPA for air toxics and industrial uses. The machine is also approved as a standard test method for determination of gaseous compounds by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

"When people think of air pollution crises, they often think of industrial communities in Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey. They should start thinking about Louisville as well," said Denny Larson of the Refinery Reform Campaign."This FTIR sampling, as well as previous bucket brigade samples by the Justice Resource Center, is showing that Louisville's air pollution problem is not going away. People are sick, their property values are being damaged and the environment is being destroyed. Is this the face of the 'new Louisville' that Mayor Abrahamson is so aggressively promoting?"

While joining the JRC call for more continuous real-time monitoring in Rubbertown, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner Casey Harrell stated that the real solution to the air pollution crisis in Rubbertown and Louisville is to eliminate the source. There is no such thing as an acceptable level of pollution. Safer alternatives exist for virtually all of the chemicals produced in Louisville. Clean production should be the goal of everyone involved in this air pollution debate."

Representatives from Midac Corporation are available on request to speak about the FTIR air monitors.

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