The recent air quality report released by the state of New York challenges Environmental scientist from Harvard University and the University at Buffalo. According to a study released two weeks ago by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, there is no significant health problem because of diesel Trucks and car traffic on the New York State thruway and Peace Bridge.
The report has left many in the community and national scientist wondering if the study was done correctly since diesel fuel is a significant health hazard to Humans and wild life.
The study was based on samples collected between August 2012 and mid-March at two air-monitoring sites – downwind of the bridge plaza in a vacant lot at Busti Avenue and Vermont Street and upwind at the southwest corner of Front Park.
“Results from this phase of testing indicate that mobile source emissions from the Peace Bridge Plaza are not impacting overall air quality significantly,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. The DEC will test air quality again after the plaza renovations are finished to see if there are any changes.
The DEC report said that levels of fine particulate matter and black carbon, associated with combustion of diesel fuel and other fuels, were similar at both test sites, “which indicates the plaza is not a significant source of [particulate matter] in the surrounding neighborhood.”
Community and local environmental professional are wondering what is not significant, Since any diesel fuel is a hazard.
The report added that there was a slight increase in black carbon downwind during heavy Peace Bridge traffic in the afternoon.
“Overall,” the DEC stated, “the data suggest that there are no significant differences between air quality in the plaza neighborhood and in the City of Buffalo overall.”
Kathleen Mecca, president of Columbus Park Association, a Peace Bridge-area group, also disputed the DEC’s methods.
“I completely disagree with these findings,” she said Wednesday evening. “There is tons of empirical data out there that contradicts what the DEC did.”
Mecca said that the air samples were taken during months when traffic is not at its peak on the bridge and in locations different from where studies were made that showed high levels of pollution from diesel engines.
“How can they come up with different conclusions from the World Health Organization or the Harvard School of Health or the American Cancer Society?