Measuring Industrial Air Pollution and Health Effects with East Point Residents

Study Title: East Point Citizens Partner with Rollins in Piloting Systematic VOC Exposure Surveillance and Adverse Health Effects

Colleen McBride, School of Public Health, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

East Point, GA is home to two industrial plants that manufacture paint and treated telephone poles. These industries emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), exposure to which can result in short- and long-term health effects. This potential exposure is of particular concern in an area like East Point, which is 74% African American and 33% of residents earn less than $25,000 a year and 29% do not have health insurance. Concerned residents partnered with the HERCULES Community Engagement Core to document the odors and total VOC levels they experience. This study builds on that partnership, engaging residents as citizen-scientists to measure specific VOCs and to document the actions taken to date to address the pollution. An Emory epidemiologist will also analyze community health concerns. The results of this multidisciplinary study may inform future citizen-science projects and can be used by residents to communicate with decision-makers about the exposures in their community.

How this study contributes to the exposome: This study analyzes a group of VOCs to create a profile of possible chemical exposures while exploring potentially associated health conditions. The results of this study reflect a part of this community’s external exposome.