Air Quality in Baltimore City

Wheelabrator Baltimore (WTI) takes seriously its commitment to Baltimore City and its reputation globally as an environmentally responsible solution to today’s waste management challenges.

In early 2020, WTI commissioned a focused study to analyze air quality in Baltimore City and assess the population health effects of emissions from various sources including Wheelabrator Baltimore.

    STUDY FINDINGS:

    • The emissions produced by WTI have a negligible impact on ambient air quality in Baltimore City and as such, no negative impact on community health.
    • There is no correlation between emissions from WTI and asthma rates in Baltimore City.
    • Baltimore’s asthma rates are primarily correlated with social determinants of health, not emissions from WTI.
    • Emissions from WTI are well below state and federal air standards designed to safeguard the environment and public health.
    • Multiple independent studies conclude that traffic-related pollution (TRAP) is most likely the primary source of air pollution in Baltimore City.

    the facts

    Wheelabrator’s impact on Baltimore City’s air quality is negligible.

    The emissions produced by WTI have a negligible impact on ambient air quality in the City. Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP) is the major source of air pollution in Baltimore City, as is the case in many major cities. In 2018, the Maryland Department of the Environment reported that “Emissions from mobile sources continue to be the largest source of NO2 pollution in Maryland, though significant reductions are being achieved through cleaner cars and fuels.”

    “It is likely that on-road vehicles are the largest contributor to the air pollution that people breath in Baltimore.”

    -Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). 2017. Asthma and Air Pollution in Baltimore City.

    There is no correlation between emissions from WTI and asthma rates in Baltimore City.

    There is no correlation between the air quality impacts of WTI emissions and public health, including local asthma rates. Emissions from Wheelabrator have a negligible impact on air quality and are well below state and federal air standards designed to safeguard the environment and public health. The environmental epidemiology study statistically analyzed the annual asthma health data and modeled annual average air concentrations, taking into account socio-demographic parameters across Baltimore City’s 21 zip codes over three years of available data. The study showed there were no statistically significant associations between annual age-adjusted asthma rates in relation to annual average PM2.5, NO2 or SO2 air concentrations from the facility (PM2.5, NO2 and SO2 are most likely to be related to asthma).

    “In general, there is not a significant association between city zip codes with the highest emissions of criteria pollutants from stationary facilities and the zip codes with the highest asthma rates.”

    -Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). 2017. Asthma and Air Pollution in Baltimore City.

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    Baltimore’s asthma rates are primarily correlated with social determinants of health.

    Baltimore’s asthma rates are primarily correlated with social determinants of health, not emissions from Wheelabrator. The study identified consistent, statistically significant associations between asthma rates and median family income and other socioeconomic parameters. Multiple independent research studies have found precisely what our research demonstrated, namely that factors such as poor living conditions, a prevalence of rodents and pests, and a lack of access to health care drive asthma rates in Baltimore, and other urban areas.

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    1Dispersion Modeling Analyses – Baltimore Bresco Facility – Toxic Air Pollutant Evaluation.
    TRC Environmental Corporation, 2019; Alotaibi, R. et. Al. database. 2019. https://carteehdata.org/library/webapp/trap-asthma-usa;
    Guidance Document: Maryland’s Toxic Air Pollutant (TAP) Regulations. Maryland Department of the Environment, 2016.

    2Annual average No2 concentrations across Baltimore City zip codes based on emissions from the Wheelabrator facility (TRC 2019. Dispersion Modeling Analysis – Baltimore RESCO Facility) and background annual average No2 air concentrations from modeling (2019; Alotobai R. et. Database).
    2019 https:carteehdata.org/library/webapp/trap-asthma-usa and Traffic related air pollution and the burden of childhood asthma in the contiguous United States in 2000 and 2010. Env. Int. 127:858) and USEPA and MDE air quality monitors in Baltimore City.

    Read the full study: EVALUATION OF ASTHMA EMERGENCY ROOM AND HOSPITAL DISCHARGE RATES IN RELATION TO AMBIENT AIR CONCENTRATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE WHEELABRATOR WASTE-TO-ENERGY FACILITY

    To be a leader in your community and bring the We Can Bmore program to your neighborhood, please email us.

    A project of Wheelabrator Baltimore