(73rd in a series on Martin Tower)
Breena Holland is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. She is a past and current director of Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative.
This summary does not present the results in a very helpful way. It would be nice to know the range of concentrations by particle size per monitor. To say that during the implosion maximum concentrations ranged from 9.3 to 33,625 micrograms per cubic meter of air for particles with an average diameter of between .31 and .91 micrometers does not allow us to put the results in the context of any meaningful ambient air regulatory standards, which designate safe levels for particles that measure 2.5 (or 10) micrometers. Assuming the presented numbers were averaged across all four monitors in very different locations, we don’t know where the fallout was worst, and what amount of particulate might have fallen into the creek or an area where people live (vs. what looks like a parking lot on their map).
The results suggest that one PM monitor was inundated with particulate, so I guess we can assume that location was hit the worst, but what were the specific numbers associated with that location? Also, as Mr. Lopez notes, telling us what was not in the air is not the same thing as telling us what was in the air. I guess these data show that the demolition company was not lying when it said it had removed all the asbestos and lead paint, but we already had reason to believe that was true because the DEP went and checked their work. Did they even bother to do a chemical analysis to identify other toxins? I guess we’ll have to wait for the DEP to tell us what else might have been in the air, assuming their monitors were not inundated with so much dust as to also become “overloaded.”
Can we please see the original data as gathered by each monitor? What is here simply conceals any meaningful variation in exposure by location to either homeowners or aquatic resources.
Breena has way more science than Gadfly has but still not enough. So I say again: The developer’s report is (obviously) going to be questioned. There will be suspicions of some sort of cover-up. Is there some (objective) scientist “out there” in Gadfly-land who can help us understand what the developer and the DEP reports say and don’t say. The developer is probably before the City right now with the next step in design plans, which just as probably will be controversial, and they will be before the public again. This is a good time to be sure the developer was “clean” in terms of claims of safety from the demolition.