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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Robin Puett, Ph.D. / Robin Puett Publications / Air Quality Assessment of Volatile Organic Compounds Near a Concrete Block Plant and Traffic in Bladensburg, Maryland

Rosemary I Ezeugoh, Robin Puett, Devon Payne-Sturges, Raul Cruz-Cano, and Sacoby M Wilson (In press)

Air Quality Assessment of Volatile Organic Compounds Near a Concrete Block Plant and Traffic in Bladensburg, Maryland

Environmental Justice, 0(0):1-11.

A concrete block plant located in Bladensburg, Maryland, wants to expand to include a concrete batching plant on the same property. This expansion could further degrade air quality and impact the health of vulnerable residents. The purpose of this study is to provide information on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) levels near residential areas close to commuter traffic and industrial activity associated with the concrete plant. Air quality monitoring was conducted in the community at five sites: (1) Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church, (2) Bladensburg Waterfront Park, (3) Confluence area, (4) Bladensburg Elementary School, and (5) Hillcrest Apartment Complex by using the Atmotube, a wearable, real-time sensor that can measure total VOCs. Sampling was conducted in 30-minute periods to capture morning onpeak, afternoon off-peak, and evening on-peak periods. Traffic counts were also conducted at the sites mentioned earlier to evaluate vehicular activity. Average 30-minute values for cars ranged from 8.33 to 1295.33 cars, whereas mean truck values ranged from 0.00 to 137.67 trucks across all sites. The highest average car count of 1295.33 cars was observed at the confluence area. Mean VOCs concentrations ranged from 0.11 to 0.54 ppm across the monitoring locations. The maximum average VOCs level of 0.54 ppm was observed at Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday. Also, the mean VOCs levels observed at the church (0.54 and 0.31 ppm) were higher compared with other locations on Saturday. Our results revealed spatial variations of VOCs levels across all locations. There were higher total VOCs levels at the church, which is the closest location to the concrete block plant.

Health in Social Context, Health Disparities, Puett
community engagement, environmental justice, citizen science, low-cost sensors, volatile organic compounds, community-based participatory research, air quality monitoring
Published Online: September 27, 2019

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