Questions about air quality in Brunswick, and potential adverse health
effects, have been received by the GEC for many years. Many people have
called or spoken about how the air in Brunswick makes them sick, while
others claim to have never experienced any health problems.
is air quality measured?
Air quality is measured in two ways: one for chemicals that cause cancer
and a second for non-cancerous effects. The risk from cancer causing
chemicals is expressed in chances of 1 in 10,000, 100,000, and 1,000,000.
Less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance is considered very good, and progressively
more risk to 1 in 10,000. A cancer risk greater than 1 in 10,000 is
considered unacceptable for air, soils, and water contamination.
Non-cancerous health effects - which covers everything else such as
breathing, liver, kidneys, and nervous system - are expressed as a Hazard
Index. Simply put, a Hazard Index of above 1 is where adverse health
effects are thought to occur, starting with the most susceptible like the
very young or very old, and those with pre-existing health problems.
Brunswick’s Air Meet Healthy Air Quality Standards?
Does Brunswick’s air meet standards protective from cancer? No. Does
Brunswick’s air meet standards protective from non-cancerous health
bad is Brunswick’s air?
Assessing risk is as good as the information used. Only some of the
chemicals released into Brunswick’s air are measured a few times per month
by the monitoring station located at the Coastal Georgia Community College,
which is about 1 mile from the major release points. People living in
homes, working in businesses, or children going to school in locations
closer to the chemical release points could have far greater risk than
indicated by the monitoring data. Based upon limited monitoring for
Brunswick, the following health risks were calculated.
risk in Brunswick in 1999 was greater than 5.36 in 10,000, and in 2000 the
risk was greater than 1.15 in 10,000.
Non-cancer risk in Brunswick was estimated by the Georgia Environmental
Protection Division to be:
1998 Hazard Index: 68
1999 Hazard Index: 60
2000 Hazard Index: 35
2001 Hazard Index: 32
we making progress?
With the limited information from limited monitoring, we can still say that
Brunswick’s air quality has improved. Even by other means of measuring like
total pounds of toxic chemicals released, progress is being made. In 1990,
over 14,000,000 pounds of toxic chemicals were released, and dropped to
~3,000,000 in 2000.
do we obtain clean air?
The GEC believes we can have clean air through the enforcement of current
laws. Unfortunately, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has
refused to enforce laws intended to protect the health and quality of life
in Brunswick, which lead to the current appeal in
the 11th Circuit Court.