Air Pollution Basics

Thanks to modern technology, and the help of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, we have been able to place air monitors around the neighborhood. Now we can see for ourselves the pattern of dangerous air quality that we live under.

A 2020 study conducted at Paul Quinn’s Urban Research Initiative titled “Poisoned By Zip Code: An Assessment of Dallas’ Air Pollution Burden by Neighborhood” provided an alarming view of how, in Dallas, life expectancy can be shortened depending on the zip code you live in. One of the culprits is air pollution which can have severe effects on overall health and is much worse than just a nuisance and not just an acceptable part of living in a city.

The problem is heavy industry located right alongside residential areas. The heavy industry produces heavy pollution that include:

  • Foul smelling Sulfur Oxides (SOx), which include compounds of sulfur and oxygen molecules including Sulfur dioxide (SO2). At least we can generally smell these to get a sense that something is foul in the air. These are irritants and can affect lung function with enough exposure.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that include a variety of chemicals which can result adverse health effects with exposure. These can be released by manufacturing processes.
  • Particulate Matter (PM) can be solid particles in the air. Larger particles, such as dust or smoke can be seen by the naked eye. Fine particles however such as PM2.5 and PM10, named by the tiny size and shape of the particles, are not visible. PM2.5 can be very dangerous because they are small enough and can travel well enough to embed themselves in our lungs.

The air monitors track the presence of Particulate Matter because of the risk that they pose to our neighbors’ and families’ health. We use the Purple Air Monitors for our purposes. Those monitors use laser particle counters to measure PM1.0, PM2.5, and PM10 concentrations in the air.

We are gathering information about the air that we breathe to support our message that this air is being destroyed by the polluting manufacturers and they do not belong around residential areas.

We are still in the early stages of our air monitoring efforts, but we hope to continue to build a case that the conditions that we are forced to live in are unacceptable and that we can break the cycle of injustice revealed in the Poisoned by Zip Code Study.

West Dallas Air Monitors

We are using EPA’s Air Quality Index as guidance for understanding how our health is affected. In a week’s time, the presence of particulate matter levels can increase to dangerous levels and we would not notice if not for these monitors.

Air monitor captures PM event

Shingle Pollution 101 Event: February 26, 2022

Here is the link to the Shingle Pollution 101 event recording, in case you missed it in February. Have questions or want more educational presentations like this one? Reach out: