Our environmental justice coalition organizers realized there was a need for Benzene monitors that provide accurate and real-time data when there is a petrochemical disaster.
Our main concern:
Our main concern is that fenceline community do not have air toxicity data and proper safety information to protect themselves to the toxic hazards during a petrochemical disaster.
Obstacles and supporting information:
There aren't public owned or community owned and operated benzene air monitors. The current benzene monitors are owned and operated by the petrochemical industries operating in our communities. When the ITC Fire that happened on March 2019, the benzene monitors were taken off-line when the benzene levels started to rise. The response from the county was inadequate, county officials had never prepared for this or any kind of petrochemical disaster in decades despite several petrochemical fire or leaks that have been reported in the past.
Who is engaged in this concern?
Local community members are involved in coming up with the concept. We partnered up with a nonprofit tech organization to develop the hardware and coding language for a mobile alert system and data.
What are the initial questions?
Who is at risk during a petrochemical disaster?
How many benzene air monitors do we need in our communities?
Are there other toxic chemicals?
What does the data mean?
How do are fenceline community members notified of petrochemical disaster, benzene levels or other toxic chemicals detected in their area?
What options do fenceline community members have to protect themselves besides shelter-in-place?
What to do after benzene/or toxic air exposure?