« Reveal

School haze

2017-02-18 | 🔗

Across the country, thousands of public schools are within 500 feet of pollution-choked roads like highways and truck routes. Next time on Reveal, we investigate the high levels of exhaust surrounding U.S. schools and how the bad air is affecting the millions of children who are breathing it in.

Head over to revealnews.org for more of our reporting.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Soccer game has broken out on a frozen school playground nor teachers, the kids are competing on their blood is pump. Heaven right now. They think the biggest problem is scoring go, but actually a much bigger problem. Is the air there breathing, because right next to this field, separated by changing fence there's this stage stream: heavy trucks, delivery, trucks, container trucks, garbage trucks, you name it. The scent of smokey diesel fuel, hangs in the air. The pollution from all that traffic is especially dangerous to kids, because research suggests
start: lung growth cause learning problems, heart disease and raise the risk of cancer. The centre for public integrity, nonprofit newsroom partner with us to find out how many kids are going to schools were they exposed to these toxic fumes we met. Doubt. Every public school in the country and founded one in eleven are within five hundred feet of heavily trafficked road and air pollution spreads into classrooms. Of nearly four and a half million kids for deep look reveals Fernanda, come arena, takes us to North New Jersey in the working class neighbourhood of iron, about the A bell rang about a half hour ago, at the Hockins Street School and now fourth and fifth, waiters maiden and after school programme, everyone would invest and chairs are pushed to the side. Everyone stands today. They flip the lyrics out of pocket.
Pop song to give it an educational message, Why we as well, we got me, I guess, that's too meagre bowers one of the volunteers and be after school programme she's, forty two with short, dark hair and boundless energy percent. Ariane is ten years old and in fourth grade when the programmes over we walk across the street to the public housing complex. What a meagre and her son live as soon as opened the door. The aroma of dinner greets me, you may
make one disease and some colleague, ways and I think, also be eating meat furs and they loved they love it. Gotta keep talking maybe I'll do fast. Technique is a single mom of two, but no matter how hard she tries to give tat. And his brother a good life. She can't fix one thing: nearly six hundred trucks rumble pass the school and their apartment com every day every site. Where you can see, I can't breathe now here you gotta, keep you want this clause, because otherwise the films, and all the best mills company is too much a couple of years ago, tat had a serious scare, I'm looking at phase, and I'm the guy says hush movie moving his a brief and my weight. I too near like animals, because, alas, bottle to yawn was diagnosed with asthma. Now he takes steps,
lights and uses an in home air Purifier Tommy switch on a White Box connected to a tube and hold said undertones knows fresh air force out years ago used a veil of. We are women. Same way when thou, my man, rosea meteorite, find better this purifier releases clean air not found outside. He uses it about four times a week Well, the way brief it just feels controls on time. It filet trouble destroyed, running a lot on design that specific easy. I would a brief How much better
a lot of things can trigger asthma. Air pollution is just one cause, professor at a ball studies, air quality and respiratory function at the University of Southern California. So We ve done shown that for children that live close to busy roadways that it does have an impact on their health, EVA tat being exposed to busy roads can affect kits lungs ass. They grow, I kind of think of it like your growing, a tree in the backyard. If you tie the tree back and tether it, you can change the shape that true guess it grows and that sort of what happens with children's lungs, for example, the pollution can keep young lungs from growing a vulcan, Ten years with his tree analogy for children to grow up in more polluted areas, they don't grow in assent straight and tall in terms of achieving maximum growth of their long health. What they do is tend to be little stunted they can curve and grow and are concerned. Is that over the
five years that sort a slight change in the growth trajectory become sort of person, and we have no information that suggests that they jump up and somehow catch up again that's something that worries to meet it? some study, found that people in New York or been hospitalized for asthma at a rate that was two and a half times higher than the rest of the state that for all ages, They were now. He will has where we every other week, as there is a lot of kids, MRS School cause of asthma. Lived on Hockin Street for fifteen years. Tommy got also have So the Erasmus? When she talks, you can hear her struggle. What is she has a rescue inhaler that she tucked under her pillow? She used almost every night, inasmuch as we talk to make us feel sex is running out of breath and gets the inhaler
you think it then, above all hollow shake. It was a deep breath and how you take this in your second day. Higher wherefore couple minutes. They knew how and these are going. That's how you do that go up after that. Take going back with a warning you face together. We're functional Labour day and night. This way, the lifecycle even though the school is convenient, if she could afforded she says, she's move someplace, big wasps and they one run they play come in eating the bath angle date not happens in my case in every day
They're right these sad because some sound if they're married, it's not don't just enough you know you M, because with a visit, Who was then they moved to see? Well, you see and China breathing you play why? Why me? What did I do? Did I do something to cause this, but in a word of thanks for the parents, when society is not your fault is not so who start? Is it part of the blame old diesel trucks and what comes out of their pipes, something called ultra fine particles. Research suggests They can slip into the bloodstream, bringing toxic materials with them at a yard school? That's that
and of danger. He and other students face constantly districts recrossed the country face similar problems. Nearly one in five schools that opened in two thousand fourteen was located near it Happily, traffic road judges have jobs like this. It's really not good, and this location right here you did a truck count re. He we actually stood a little bit there. Our two hundred to three hundred trucks travel just at this location, Kim he is a local environmental activists. We met no New York's busiest intersections. It's about fifteen minutes away from hockin streets. Too many collooney facilities have been allowed to be place next to schools. Next Homes to many of the corridors for trucks have been
loud to happen close to our parks close to our schools. On this black alone, there's probably about eight different recycling companies, solar recycling companies, comes what trucks, so you get this. What is that? That is the diesel that is best of pollution. Came wants me to get a closer look, so we jump in her. Car and drive out to see what brings all these trucks into the area. And if you look back here, you see all the port see all of the chalk sent attain that come from the fourth one black remove. Then you see some of the tribe industries companies, but the housing is rightly it's not like it's three for black layers of one block in sea and is a house says one block
and then these are different industries, chocolate, industry trading industries, often too We don't even know what's coming here: somebody's up facilities at many different. Now these are houses. Individuals live right here we pass housing projects and another school. The people in this community are mostly african, american and Latino. That's something we see happening. Nation wide schools that serve largely minority students are found near Is he roads at more than three times the rate of schools that serve mostly white students? Most of the trucks had come to Newark serve the port of New York and New Jersey. It's the largest port on the eastern seaboard and about nine thousand trucks. Come here each day deplored the economic engine for the region, but what it is.
The is a death zone. A death zone came with no, She witnessed a brother in law dying the street from an asthma attack. She also at a cousin who suffered an attack made it to the hospital but died came, is north born and raised, and has asked me herself ass to each of the three children, as well as very personal we believe or authority one? I agree to a ban on the older trucks in two thousand ten. The port authority said that it would be. Truck spilt before two thousand seven, because their dirtier than those built afterwards. That would have meant that trucks I've seen by Newark schools would have higher environmental standards, but the port authority later change its mind, saying they need it more time to face in the new rules and money to help truck driver where's get new rigs.
Stories This means that once they both Gabriel Purcell owns and drives one of those older dirtier rigs built in. One thousand nine hundred and ninety nine he's fifty eight and has worked as a truck driver for twenty years short and stocky, with the weather stays covered in stubble, he's wearing faded jeans and a stocking cap pulled low over his forehead. I climb into,
Rig and guardian shows me part of his route every morning this is my single house spend less twelve hours away. My job. Are you ready? Yes, You have heard me, then you're, all drugs very loud. I ride shotgun Gunnbiorn has a cool tugged at his side, with today's lunch at my feet, a plastic create with a jumble cables and spare lights. On the windshield sticker of the virgin of whether looping There's critics that say that your truck is part of the problem. How would you respond when they see a big job lazy as mom, again say now that guided here, because I'm either because I'm I just war
nobody says nothing about what it's always stones to me. I just keep going because I know is a problem. Gabriele would like to happen. You truck, but he says he needs help from the government too. Access accessible all to buy drugs, regardless of the credit If you are right, when you should have access to lowering Islam that, the only way people can go and buy a state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would set aside twenty five million dollars to help truck drivers like Gabriele. If the bill fails, it says, as an independent contractor there no way he could afford to buy a new reg on his own do us a hundred thousand miles? almost gas to the million miles I stay with these went up to the end of my working days and I'm gonna retire. Peaceful knowing Davy
they move America because everything is anywhere by job. They should be giving was struck for re evasive. Firefighters and police are heroes and trucks. I that in the meantime, Gabriele and hundreds of other drivers with older trucks will continue to pass by Hawkins which ion powers goes to school. His mom Tamika says it's time for the community to put a stop to the pollution affecting their kids. It's up to us to make a change, how to make a different show them. We do matter. You know I'm saying like this way. We don't have to accept it but we being something for far too long, because people want tomorrow speak opening mouth so dear for people open your mouth less go make a change.
Not for me, is not for use for our children. The far that story from Fernanda come arena You can hear how riled up residence like Tamika are, but is anything going to change to talk about that? Let's bring in Jamie Hopkins she's a reporter at the center for public integrity who partnered with us on today show and me, why did you choose to look at the school in Norfolk yeah? Newark has a lot of schools near busy. Because it has a lot of busy roads. It's right next to new city, there's a big port there, there's an airport, so there there's a lot of sources of transportation. Pollution in India
Two cars and trucks you comes around: eight thousand pull the schools near busy roads. How did you define a busy road either rather gets least thirty thousand total vehicles and on average or has ten thousand plus vehicles a day on it at least five hundred, which are trucks and an that's, because particularly old. Diesel trucks are well documented problem in terms of air pollution and health impacts. We wanted to make sure that we could account for these. These roads have more trucks, even if they don't make the three thousand threshold. We got a really helpful calculation from Texas, aunt, Em Transportation Institute that looks to the typical mix a beer. Those on the road today and they found that a heavy dvds truck and a highway puts at sixty three times the fine particle pollution of a gasoline car. What about the rest of the country was dead? you put together on their what we found near busy roads all across the country. A more common in big cities, as you would expect deafening, were common big cities, but you can find it in smaller cities and in suburbs of all,
ties even in rural areas and towns. So that this is a nation wide problem in talking to folks, it seems like this is at one, that's really on the radar of of school systems about some things think about, but not really thinking about the issue of of roads and what's coming off the roads. Why are so many schools located knew these busy roads will? It seems like a mix of things. Some folks tells a cost plays a role at school. Districts are looking for the cheapest option and- Sometimes that has happened to be the land smack down by highway or other source of heavy traffic. Sometimes it's just our define land that is enclosed, a busy road looking at the map and of New York City adjust has. She could see how we really challenging. For instance, sometimes school was built. First and highway came later that poor, the problem seems to be school officials are don't seem to realise. There is a problem: traffic pollution, invisible the decades of research about something and people the measurement showing that its higher near roads. This isn't the can be very well known outside public health circles and an environmental health advocates so
You don't know the IRA's worsening busy road. You might see that location as a plus, because its due to get to some of the schools we looked at, what closest to the road or the playgrounds or the athletic, for and there are filters and your building one hope. Their schools largely minority students are found near busy roads more than three times the rate of schools serve mostly white students. Why do you think that is We wondered that and what we found is that, where students live is important, and big cities are have higher number of minority students, lower numbers of white students than say the rural areas, but one thing I could get lost in this is the reason why people live where they live is something that is in once in many ways by decisions that were made decades ago in some of the discriminatory to say, about what people were allowed to live and also where we're busy roads and highways would be built still seem to be having ripple effects, and we talk to some experts about in a how accounting
to effect where people live and where they go to school. It's a problem for everybody, but certainly researchers who are more concerned about what this means for kids. These Jamie does Jimmy Hopkins from the centre for public integrity? or from her later in the show right about now. You may be wondering, what's going on, with my kids school, I think parents. It's hard for us to recognise that we have placed children in maybe place of endangerment when we had best intentions. How one mom went on a mission to clear the air at her kids school when we come back? This is revealed the centre for investigative reporting and p r.
From the seller investigative affording MP are ex vis is reveal analysis before the break. We heard how traffic pollution was acting schools in North New Jersey. Now we had southern California a place that makes you think of that. Glimmer of Hollywood, the sway of palm trees and a cool fresh breeze blowing off the Pacific ocean. But
for the kids in El Marino, elementary school is over city, a cool breeze is not what they smell in those few miles between the Pacific Ocean and the school is a freeway, and not just any freeway. The four or five, the busiest freeway United States and one of the busiest sections of every way he's right next to the school are reported in waters drove through Ellie traffic to find out what these kids thought about the free weight in their backyard. What about the others had argued that here, the freeway noise here car driving when we are always here, yeah, there's a big tall, concrete sound wall that keeps the freeway even the massive four hundred and five pretty much hidden away. The wall is right by the kindergarten classroom. That's where Amy meets up with bike man,
business manager for cover city schools. So this is a kindergarten and, I think, were pretty much at the closest point between school on the freeway array of steps, the freeway wall right there, save it can be more than us. Fifty sixty feet maximum, like Threeg car lengths, something I've Alex here. Just right that L, Marino Elementary is within five hundred feet of the four hundred five. Now that would go against the guidelines of the school built today, but what makes this school different from the one we heard about in New Jersey is inside these classrooms. The kids are breathing, filtered air, This was our first system and the central bank It was the Merv sixteen filtration first, sixteen filter is designed to remove the smallest particles. This project has been six years in the making
inside each room, is a large blue heating unit hanging from the ceiling inside the units which we're installed in the nineteen seventies and look like it are highly sensitive filters, but the project is an entirely finished. I let Amy take it from here. First I have to introduce you to run your subdue daily she's, a more scientists and the woman a lot appearance here? Credit as the miracle worker who got this project will start Must be a run well come on arriving at rhinos house, it's way more beach bungalow than men mansion, but this is southern Kelly. For your real estate and none of its cheap there night children the first year and these- and this is nowhere who just finished being at the school two years ago, in seventh grade now his toilet, California. Can you say a lot like that
until Marino. They all play music kids, but on a mini concert for me, and they golden locks lightened by southern California son. They look. I nine these ban handsome, but for these guys it's more guitar rock, less Bob. I would great it high because of the language and think that I can definitely tell now in middle school how it how people learn more knows part of the spanish immersion programme. The school also has japanese all the way the sixth grade, how marinas been raided as one of the top public elementary schools in the state run? His kids had been there for years before she decided to do something about. The air. When I got interested during the year two thousand eleven- it was the time in my life, where Children had been
it's almost no for a long time there are twelve fifteen and eighteen now and they all have been to own Reno, and I love that school, but she also knew how close it was to the freeway and to its worried, seek run. You grew up in a homeless smokers. She has ass my herself and she sighed affecting our growing sons to of always had asthma that sat the oldest. We don't know if it was started by me in a plane around and being outside next that freeway during marriage squares, I don't know I have. I still have some ass many. She sometimes a lot of things can trigger ass air pollution is just one cause, and we don't have the exact data on how traffic pollution is affecting the kids at El Moreno we might not ever now, but on time on one very hazy day, I took it A very non scientific poor does anyone here have asthma.
Asthma. Well, ass dad and dad because a lot of girls who does what I think a lot of people when I moved me out, because, as a form of five nine Ashley Brown is here with her mother to pick up her younger brother, her mom, Christina droning took actually out about Marino a year and a half ago, just the cities read were really freaking me out, like the increase teens of cancer and, like that If something were to happen to her and she got my those rare cancer related to view a pollution I couldn't live with, people are like what
a less polluting, that's just living in a way I might know like when he attended twenty times worse, but people to want acknowledge it, because it is the best school and Culver City and sows. It was a in my opinion, a little bit of choosing to put their head in the sand. Christina says she's. Kay with her son going down Murray now that the schools installed then who fell back. Run this house. She also acknowledges that for a lot of the parents, realising what the police, she was doing, was hard to face. I think, as parents, it's hard for us to recognise that we have placed their children in may a place of endangerment when we had the best intentions, but rather than taking our kid out of L Marino Run, you went so
for a way to improve the air, so the kids could stay I am very aware of the fact that we had, I suppose, privileges that may not be villages that others school in communities may have. Wasn't just money. It was time energy and run his expertise. I am have Phd in Environmental Health sciences that I earned you see delay I have a masters and public health Rhine his own back and in science. That was the big advantage. Soil but asking questions there were answers were difficult to defined, but a researcher, and I don't give up first, she started looking back this What testing had been that already back in two thousand, the air was tested at the park near the school, but the park is further from the freeway than the school, Is the school was never even mentioned the fact that there were sensitive,
receptors in that school, children was completely skipped over. A few years later, that teachers at El Moreno complained about the dust and asked for more testing the people who asked to come to the evaluation. They measured lead on windows sills instead, so wrong. It help start. A group of parents and teachers clean air L moreno- they called it and they did it themselves, borrowing, expertise and equipment. You see you see allay and the South Coast, air quality management? Really anyone who had lesson they ran their own tests of the pollution in the air and we looked at ultra fine particles- and we started right next to the freeway under the freeway cross. The street entered the school and took measurements. This is what they found. The school is not protected by any and you wall or sound wall or anything. A lot of people admitted traders. Parents thought the.
And while would really protect us from particles and dumb, I thought that measurement was gonna, something that was gonna show if they were right or wrong and it did. They were wrong. The sound while wasn't protecting the the children at El Moreno were being exposed to the airborne pollutants from the four or five. This was a huge problem, and now there, to find a solution, and one option was to think about moving the school to another campus somewhere. The city will be further away from the freeway. They actually concern moving in the school. We contemplated that we pitched at a little, there was no traction they're, both a school I freeway it seemed were there to stay so kept looking and it turns out, there was another site,
also by a freeway just a little farther south. In long beach, indeed figured out how. Clean, the air and the classrooms air filters Merv. Sixteen air filters are often used in hospitals and now pretty easy to install and they take ninety percent of the pollutants smoke bacteria that kind of thing. How do the so we found that there was a solution right, so we were excited that we were gonna get somewhere. If we could bring these filter stores school, we could clean up the air rhino, a smart when it came to the science, but there was also a political battle to wage the residence, sworn to excited about what our findings bent for their property values. But where there is a will, there is more testing on them. Ronnie was able to get some precision instruments from some unit, cities- that's my Grendel heard from earlier, the business manager for the covert city school district. He says
The data wrong came up with was real science and it made it hard for the school board to look away. On your requests? At a meeting with the superintendent myself and came and presented her case after MIKE was working with Rania to get the first filter installed. It was a pilot, so there was bore testing to be done after we installed a unit Ronnie came out with the devices and measured the ultra fine particulates and found that that ninety percent of the ultra fine particulates were removed. It was document now with the filters and and the doors and windows closed, the kids could be a lot safer at school. All they needed now was the money to put the filters and the rest of the buildings. The cover city, school district, Heaven initiative called the whole time out so being very involved. We knew at that, and we were very quickly. It sees it as an up
trinity to say you know. Health and safety is part of the child and they that they breathe clean air. Part of health and safety, and if you care for the health of the children in the whole child, then this should be written to you, and they said yes, the school district introduced a bond measure on the cover Seti ballot locating over a hundred million dollars for city schools and passed the money was there and the filters were installed. But even now the battle is an entirely want. A lot of school, like hell, Marino dont have air conditioning opening the windows and doors just good enough to keep cool but that the problem when the breeze is full of exhaust MIKE Reynolds there's only one more thing. I'll Marino needs- and that's almost done so there our filtration is in its working. We submit plans to the Department of State architect to install air conditioning
that will allow us to maximize the efficiency, the air filtration system, basically, if the doors are closed to get in all like ninety percent, the particular shouted the that's happened I've been murdered by today. It is it's happening. Luckily, the community past our measures cc pond and that this fund. These improvements, deafening very helpful good for people's health. That's good! those IRAN, your sons again, they seemed pleased with the work she has done, but now they ve moved. I really bears still at the school, so it wasn t really have an effect on us. I was, Definitely thinking like why haven't they didn't done it already, because it's kind of a your problem and I mean you're right next to the freeway. So I think they should have addressed at issue earlier, but Verona, it's not just about her kids,
I understand, asthma, very well, my children, they stood at times. We ve had our struggles, but there the reason why this is happening, I believe, and the health of the other children, This is beyond my children, and this is beyond myself and that's why I'm in it and about the air outside on the playground filters wont work. There, but they are talking about a warning system that keeps kids in class. On those is when the allay smog. It's really back. That's the next project. I think that stories from reveals Amy Walter's. Now I don't know about you, but I'm started freak out a little bit, because my kids school is those who really busy wrote a spring bag. Jamie Hopkins, who ports on the environment from the centre for public integrity.
Jamie? What can I do as apparent to make sure my kids are safe from this kind of pollution? One thing you might do is checked to see. How close is it to the road? Really you Julie the farther where'd? You get the better off five hundred feet away that that is generally and being two hundred or one hundred feet away. The story that that any Walter's tells out of California is examples of what parents did they're doing things. I clean the classrooms and they were able to do things along the way that made some differences, even as they were waiting just to deal with the traffic pollution that was getting inside. So there are things that parents can do carefully guidelines. Essay schools can't be built. This close to freeways. Do you think that nationally that should be adopted? People have talked about the rule. California is as one that hasn't poles. There have been some schools built on your freeway since then, because what its intending is true to keep the schools away, but also sort of acknowledging that that sometimes maybe have a lot of good options. At the very least, though, what
done, as is put it on schools. Radar that means may be should be concerning other spots enough, if you really they don't have an option. You're gonna really want to be thinking about. How can he mitigate I'm happy. If we have to build something here or if we already have schools in these sites, what can we do about it? Are there other solutions out there? Some other things I've heard suggested include things like where you can earn take that that part of the building that's pulling in the outdoor air. I receive don't and you're the road or neural loading doc pay ten and to the times a busy traffic and make sure that you don't have outdoor directive scheduled at that point, or, for instance, maybe be the maintenance. Can pulling out. There are overnight, depending on the area that might be cleaner at that point, rather than pulling in first thing in the morning when maybe you're dealing with rush hour traffic right next to our schools, implementing these strategies to try and clean the air for the kids had a hard time finding schools that were really aware of this. It's much more common in southern California because they ve been struggling with with air pollution from
concern for organise long time there. There are some examples that we could find of of schools filters at those schools. People work something a case in Utah. For instance, it didn't Road was can be built near a number of schools, and so parents got concern. They organise and the state agreed to do our monitoring in and put in high grade filters at those schools. People work something out if a really good about it didn't come to a lawsuit and so that they gave parent some assurance that the road was was not gonna harm, their kids, so Jamie. We can't- and this conversation without talking about the EPA in the past, in order It was a guide over the years. The EPA has done a variety of things on traffic pollution generally and as a result, cars and trucks are alot cleaner now than they were a generation or two generations with regeneration ago. New diesel trucks are like cleaner than others,
of course that was voluntary because it was a guide over the years. The EPA has done a variety of things. On traffic pollution generally and as a result, cars and trucks are alot cleaner now than they were a generation or two generations are three generations ago. New diesel trucks are like cleaner than all diesel trucks, but a lot of the trucks on the road predate standards that that kicked him with the two thousand seven on year, because diesel engines are long live there will be on the road along time. The EPA has grasped to help people retrofit, replace old diesel vehicles things I trucks school but the funding runs out the sheer, and so it's sort of unclear. What's what's gonna happen with that, and now the down trump is the president and the easier it is changed. What are you things can happen there yet does doesn't look where the stages at for an aggressive crackdown on traffic pollution or or any sort of some air pollution. President Trump has some has already said. He thinks environment where
patients are under control. In fact, the officially put in charge of the EPA transition as call for deep cuts at the agency Jamie, thank you so much thanks for having yonder we proceeded. Jimmy Hopkins is with the centre for public integrity based in Washington DC. When we come back, we had to Chicago with students. A community activists are going high tech to keep an eye on air pollution. This is reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r exe from the centre for investigative reporting in PR ex. This is reveal analogy. We had now to the south side. Chicago was seventeen year old Eve Robinson is getting ready to start her day his Monday morning at about six o clock. I know this because
my alarm, just one or even a senior Whitby M Young, magnet Highschool, it's a good thing his radio, because my room is Mass she's An little black box is a size of a handheld video game and help them out with one of their pilot projects, by carrying around a small portable, since she can see right here. It just is it's probably about four by for it to square that little black box is the size of a handheld video game and its spits out information about the tiny particles in the air. She breathed to really easy, because all you need is an Android phoned, be able to connect to it and get the data. The data will have measure, air quality everywhere Eve goes today The environmental law policy centre is collecting information, so they can read it Sin city officials know with the worst air in the city is with us
there's sensor and our audio recorder we're going to eavesdrop on a day in the life of a teenagers lungs in the city, I am currently leaving the house the into level she walks to the bus. Some getting on the backs? Twenty stony island to MAX side eyes from a few people around her to some might look like there a talking to myself or be just a weirdo acre, then Eve Trance. First the elevator blue line train wish. He sees a surprise as you said, Sir, why I was recording inside the train station itself, the global spite which is kind of you,
yours inside the translation. The air is thick with dust and exhaust particles that once thirtieth with a single strand of hair. The particles enter the lungs and are known triggers for asthma. Now, that's they concern in the city where hospitals admit almost twice the national average of patients for asthma attacks those debts made Chicago in imports. Laboratory for projects like ease to track hot spots for air pollution and help people navigate around them, reveals I trees, Condor Roger, went to Chicago to check out several of these projects. What's catch up with Eve, he's now at school and carrying her sensor that poles in air readings every second, it's a device that costs a couple hundred bucks, but it can give you a pretty good idea about air quality. Eve doesn't have asthma, but the information her sensor picks up could help her classmate com
me, Walker, who does he just tell me a little bit about what that experience is likely to have an asthma attack, the high school seniors, huh, over the audio recorder in a noisy hallway, before class you're, trying to eve and you can fill your lungs moving. You have a tight me in your chance. It is really scary because you don't know what's happening and I was russian rangy room and they open my sure they with oxygen on and then then So I say is one of the scariest being that you can. Every experience to commanding who always cures for inhaler feels like drowning on dry land. According to the environmental law policy centre, there are twenty nine schools and the Chicago area that are right next to an expressway. Eaves is one of them between classes. She wonders how much the traffic exhaust is getting inside, I mean it might be different in different places, also
and I want to see inside the school buildings most you six hours year's eve takes her monitor to class we'll meet up again after school with a pediatrician who interpret the information, her device picks up throughout the day. In the meantime, I had to another part of town where another experiment track. Air quality is going on I meet up with Kim. Wasn't she grew in Chicago and now runs and environmental justice organization. She gives me two of our neighbourhood, little village, its known as Mexico, the MID West, because people come from all to buy mexican goods here. So we actually do pray well as a community when it comes to economic generation, but we don't do so well when it comes to fruition case in point: a red, brick school house in the front yard of a large factory,
So this right here is about elements Frisco. When the background, you can see that three story building right there. That's the helmet plan that mayonnaise factory has been here for about a hundred years, and now it plans to expand just within giving distance of kids at recess, and so what will eventually happened is the plants can literally grow right behind the school and actually in ouch. All we around the school, and little babies with forming lungs are going to be closer to that air pollution Kim is measuring the air quality now, so she can figure out if it gets worse after the factory expands, and so that's why this error, millennium project is so crucially important for us right now, because this would be the first time could actually have science in hand and be able to prove that what we feel right? What we think might actually be true, Kim's is one of four neighbour
but groups in Chicago that one cramp money from the Environmental Protection Agency, though use it to buy portable and stationery sensors to record air quality Kim, wants this process of monitoring to become the norm. So whenever a business in Chicago wants to build, the city would first have to consider how much pollution that business would admit. What we're trying to do now is make systematic change at us at a policy level so that no neighbourhood has to go through. This Kim's group will start monitoring the spring. The project will give p when little village, a neighborhood wide map of air pollution and other project will offer Chicago and a bigger picture of how the whole city is breathing? And this is where it starts, even though people walking around might not realize it busy intersection, beautiful downtown Chicago and
standing under need. A shoe Bach sized attachment to the top of the lamp was public twenty feet up there. They ask you whether you think that thing is up there. You see that white beehive shape things. What do you think That is where maybe a camera, maybe like some kind of tracking device, it's more of a scientific tracking device, a first of its kind super censor, the measures, all kinds of data, ultraviolet rays, traffic vibrations, magnetic fields and air quality. We are probably the first city that has a device that measures this many things. Charlie Catlett is the computer scientists to help build
The data collectors is part of a project called the array of things he's overseeing the installation of five hundred nodes on new lampposts during the next two years. The nodes will be able to track the gases people breathe and the tiniest irritants like soot particles up to bigger ones like Paul it all. The information they collect Charlie says, will be public when people say well, what access will we have? The answer is immediate, full free. The part that I feel cited about is the ability to give data to that person in a way that helps them navigate the city. It's part of a bigger push from mere Rama manual to put Chicago in the Vanguard of Data driven city planning picture. It you wake up and reading
learn about high levels of ragweed under from you, so if you're allergic to bat pollen, you decide not to write your bike that day, poor boy, you're walking through the city and you get a notification that your headed for a diesel particular spot detour, take a different wrap. This could happen in Chicago near future, and not just here Charlie thinks, as many as a hundred cities may hold their own array of things in five years. I think were now at the very beginning, but I think we were in the early stages of licence or activity, and it starts with putting devices in the hands of residence like high school senior Eve, Robinson speaking of schools out and even at the university Chicago children Robinson I may Louise, I Harry doing eve- took her data to Doktor Luis Giles, respiratory specialists.
So we're gonna numbers? Have you been thing with it? It's then interesting. It's been kind of all over Eve opens up her lap top where she's loaded her data into a spreadsheet. It turns up her reading school were nothing to worry about. We are surprised firstly by how well it was, but there was that spike in fine particles the train station, where each transferred on our way to school, so that was really high. Obviously yeah. That's the hard part not knowing about what you're being exposed There is little that we called micro environments where this might be high. Let's say, if you had asked me, would you change your commute to school, based on what you ve seen, I think side I may, when its warmer, whether even if it's more human than might decide to instead of taking the blue line, I might take the bus instead and ran a different route policy
there's might one day you sensors, to design a data driven path forward for city planning. In the meantime, even your classmates can now use it to decide what path to take school that was reveals. I trees kind, Roger thanks to eat Robinson for keeping and sharing her audio diary. Today show was edited by Deb George and shall dwell. Amy Walter's was need producer. This waste can team includes Fernanda Cover, Raina, I'd, she's kind, Roger. If, when the hazy and Julia Beach, Jan senior data reporter Eric Cigar help crunch, the numbers story on school pollution, the centre for public integrity Witherspoon today show including reporter Jamie Hopkins and editors Chris Zoo backs is it Jim wars. Sepia receives support for their story from the Dennis, a hunt fund for health Journalism and the national film. Both programmes at the University of Southern California Centre for health journalists are sound
team is the wonder, twins my man, J Breezy, Mr Jim breaks in clear, see no moment with helpful Catherine re Mondo. I had a studio crystal sharper. As our editor chief Zen rivers, I executive editor and our executor producers can solve our theme. Music is by Colorado, lightning support for reveals. By the Raven David Loading Foundation for foundation. The John Dene Catherine Team regards Foundation, the genus and James my Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production of the centre for investigative reporting and p r x, amount lesson and remember. There is always more to the store.
These are last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I cannot wait for you to hear them reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads, telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final Pics of our end of the year membership campaign, we depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven state of data rates apply and you can stop or cancel time again just takes a word reveal to four seven four, seven, four seven Let's go do some good work together.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.