Business and Economics

State Air Study: Region Not Breathing Easy Yet

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August 9, 2013 — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says residents must work at breaking bad habits, such as idling their vehicles, to reduce the amount of toxins released in the air.

The agency conducted a study for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission that suggests the air Region residents breathe is getting cleaner, but there is also room for improvement.

Something we do every day, like drive a car, is driving up the number of airborne toxins in the air we breathe. The Indiana Department of Environmental and Management’s Jeff Stoakes studies air quality, and he says lower toxin levels are necessary for longer, healthier lives, “The mobile sources, the cars and trucks in the area are the main risk driver and that monitoring data comparable areas throughout the rest of the area are similar to what is found in this lakeshore area.”

Stoakes says a few adjustments, such as carpooling or buying a new car, help reduce the amount of pollutants put in the air, such as, “Putting in different control equipment, coming up with new processes that lower emission rates and lowering the total risk in the area.”

Stoakes says the dangers of not lowering vehicle emission rates might take a toll on individual health, and data from the study reveals the highest concentration of toxins are found in Gary. “The monitor is located very close to an industrial source property.”

Stoakes says he doesn’t want residents to worry because IDEM is working with that source to find ways to reduce its risk.


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