Air pollution is a national problem. Imagine leaving your house every morning and having to wear a face mask and gloves, worrying that the air you breathe and everything you touch is toxic. That is an example of the extreme, but it if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t regulate and control where factories are built and what they are dispersing into the ecosystem near towns and cities, wearing a face mask and gloves may become the norm.
National Air Pollution Problems
Lead and arsenic are being released into the air in Laureldale, Pa. by Exide, a company that recycles car batteries. Exide was recently cited with 161 violations and fined $436,000, but did that change its practices?
Residents are still complaining because of the smell, but it’s the unseen hazards that are putting this community at risk.
The EPA says toxic air has dropped by 40 percent when compared to 20 years ago, but there is still an issue with companies violating regulations. The EPA has a watch list of Clean Air Act violators and as recently as this summer the list capped at around 400 companies across the United States.
Poisoned Places: Toxics in the Air, on the Ground
Air Pollution in Hayden, Arizona
When it comes to companies being careless about toxic emissions, small Arizona towns are being affected by bad air. Residents of Hayden, Ariz. are are concerned about the health risks that come with living in Hayden and are afraid to let their children play outside.
One resident relocated after Asarco bought her home and demolished it after it was determined to be severely contaminated with chemicals emitted by the copper mining and smelting company.
The EPA tested the soil in Hayden and found that lead and arsenic contaminated dozens of family yards close to the smelting operations. The company was required to clean it up, but according to Hayden residents, ASARCO covered the contaminated soil with landscaping rocks.
The air pollution condition for the residents in Hayden, Ariz. is a catch-22. The community was created by the mining company and many residents in the community work for ASARCO. They don’t want to lose the jobs the company provides, they just want ASARCO to clean up its act.