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Brunswick, Georgia 31521
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Does Brunswick Have Healthy Air?



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.

 How 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.

 Does 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 effects?  No.

 How 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.

 Cancer 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

 Are 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.

 How 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.



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