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State DEC, local groups to monitor air

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is launching an air monitoring program that uses community groups to collect data about toxic pollutants.

Groups selected to take part in the Community Air Screening Program will use stainless steel canisters that collect air samples over a 1-hour period.

A DEC lab will screen for gaseous pollutants such as benzene, which is found in gasoline, and perchloroethylene, a liquid primarily used by dry cleaning facilities that evaporates when exposed to air.

“This program focuses on local-scale sampling and empowers environmentally conscious residents to get involved in improving the air quality in their communities,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.

Sixty samples will be collected as part of the program.

Interested groups must file an application detailing their air quality concerns and the health risks associated with the type of pollution they suspect or have identified, the DEC said in a news release.

The amount of samples each group collects will be based on information from the community group, meteorological data and the location of industrial sources.

If results reveal a toxic level of pollutants, the DEC will do additional air sampling.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is funding the $170,000 program.

Applications to participate are due by Thursday and can be found on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov or by calling 518-402-8044.
 

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