Living next to an industrial “hotspot,” Paterson residents are at high risk of being exposed to air toxins, which can lead to development issues in children and long-term health effects. Paterson is an ethnically diverse community with a disproportionately large number of low- and moderate-income families. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection asked Rutgers University and ERG to help study air toxins in light of the environmental justice concerns they create.
ERG assisted NJ DEP’s Urban Community Air Toxics Monitoring Project with air sampling in five different New Jersey communities. ERG strategically placed monitoring stations in locations that captured industrial, commercial, and mobile source emissions. Two of the monitoring stations were at Paterson public schools, allowing the team to measure potential exposures to children. The data that ERG collected helped New Jersey assess at-risk communities’ exposures to air toxins, with the aim of creating risk reduction strategies that could be applied to other communities throughout the state.