LANSING — State Representative Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), along with U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), each sent a letter today to Lana Pollack and Gordon Walker, U.S. and Canada section chairs, respectively, of the International Joint Commission in Washington, D.C., requesting that the commission study and analyze air pollution along the border in Wayne County and Essex County, Ontario, in order to measure the cumulative impact on public health in this region. The region is home to state House District 6, which Chang represents.
“Southwest Detroit, River Rouge and Ecorse face some of the worst air pollution in Michigan,” Chang said. “The combination of various pollutants from refineries, steel plants, power plants, international bridge truck traffic and more has had enormous effects on the health of residents in my district. We are asking the International Joint Commission to conduct a cumulative impact study in Wayne and Essex counties so we can know the full combined impact, both from the multiple sources of pollution and the multiple types of pollutants.”
Part of Wayne County was designated a non-attainment area for sulfur dioxide, and Chang said the area is likely to be designated a non-attainment area for ozone in the near future. Detroit has the highest asthma rate in young children in the entire country, with the asthma hospitalization rate three times the rate of Michigan as a whole. Many residents have been calling for a cumulative impact
study to better understand the combined impact of the air pollution from various sources.
Chang wants the IJC to measure what the cumulative impact is from (a) the multiple sources of pollution, including industrial and roadway sources, and (b) the combination of all the pollutants, not just evaluating the pollutants one by one.
“The people of Wayne County and Essex County deserve to know the health effects of the combined presence of air pollutants,” Chang said. “I urge the IJC to begin to identify significant sources of air pollution, measure the cumulative impact on public health, and make recommendations to better protect human health in this area. I also believe that this work should be done in consultation with community representatives and environmental and public health professionals.”