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I-TEAM: What’s your neighborhood’s risk of toxic gas emissions?

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 10:15 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - What we breathe in each day has a huge impact on our long-term health. And unfortunately in this case what you don’t know can hurt you. But for the first time our I-Team is giving you a better look at what toxic gases are in the air around us here at home and where the highest risk areas are.

Nonprofit newsroom Propublica mapped the spread of cancer causing chemicals from thousands of plants across the country from 2014 to 2018. And what they found in our area is concerning. This map shows how toxic air spreads around industrial plants and into nearby neighborhoods leading to what the EPA calls ‘Situations of potential concern’ for higher rates of cancer.

Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the U.S.
Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the U.S.(WRDW)

Kendall Patient Recovery or KPR is our biggest hotspot. The EPA’s own model estimates the plant’s ehtylene oxide emissions account for 93.7 percent of the excess cancer risk in that area – 4.5 times their allowed limit.

And if you look at the entire area you can see that KPR isn’t our only area of concern.

Graphic Packaging International emits several carcinogens including formaldehyde and contributes to about 87.6 percent of the excess cancer risk in that area. Modern Welding Co of Georgia down by the river – the EPA reports they emit chromium and nickel. And their emissions contributes about 98.3 percent of the estimated excess cancer risk for that area – 1.2 times higher than the EPA’s acceptable risk.

And you probably expected to see this one – SRS contributes about 99.8 percent of the estimated excess cancer risk here which is 1.6 times higher than the EPA’s acceptable limits.

And these are just a few of the hot spots there are more in our area. If you’re interested in investigating for yourself, you can visit: https://projects.propublica.org/toxmap/ to take a look at where you live and work.

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