PATERSON AIR STUDY FINDS NO SIGN OF CHEMICAL AIR POLLUTANT
(12/P47) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection announced that the second phase of a Paterson air quality study found no evidence of elevated levels of a targeted chemical and no evidence that Paterson’s air quality differs from that of other urban communities in the state. This second phase study was necessary to target a chemical pollutant discovered at elevated levels during air sampling in 2006.
The second Paterson study was a detailed 12-month follow-up done by the Department of Environmental Protection and financed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The study found traces of the chemical p-dichlorobenzene in the city’s air, but not at any unusual level and at levels similar to those in all urban communities.
Since the study, which employed intense sampling in 2010 and 2011, found no elevated levels of the chemical it could not specifically pinpoint the cause of the two-month elevation of p-dichlorobenzene found in 2006 as part of a broader investigation of air quality in Paterson.
“We took a proactive stance in this matter to ensure the health and welfare of Paterson residents,’’ said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “Thankfully, the study results show that whatever happened for a brief period in 2006 is not recurring, and that is good news. But we understand there is still a need to improve air quality in Paterson and in all of our urban areas whose residents must regularly deal with cumulative sources of pollution. That is something the Christie Administration is committed to address.’’
The Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project done in Paterson in 2005 and 2006 found elevated levels of p-dichlorobenzene from October to December 2006. As a result, the DEP obtained funding from the EPA to do additional air monitoring in Paterson.
The main goal of the Additional Air Monitoring in Paterson Study was to investigate whether the elevated levels of p-dichlorobenzene observed during that two-month period in 2006 was a one-time occurrence or might recur periodically. Extensive sampling was done from April 2010 through May 2011.
The study concluded there are no significant sources of this compound in Paterson that may pose a risk to local community health.
The results of a previous DEP study, released in February 2010, showed air quality in Paterson is comparable to other areas of the state and confirmed the DEP’s statewide monitoring network is effective at tracking urban air pollutants. The Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project, funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, took a comprehensive look at the city’s air.
This is part of the Christie Administration’s continuing effort to focus on contaminants in urban areas, whose residents deal with cumulative impacts of multiple sources of pollution on a daily basis.
The compound p-dichlorobenzene is a common chemical found in moth balls, deodorizing blocks (urinal cakes) and pesticides. It also is used in the production of dyes and pharmaceuticals.
To read the findings of the recently completed Additional Air Monitoring in Paterson (AAMP) investigation into p-dichlorobenzene, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/paterson-study/aampsreport-2012.pdf
To read the 2010 Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project (UCAMPP) report, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/paterson-study/