Justice Through Citizen Science: How ‘Chemical Fingerprinting’ Could Change Public Health

Jun 11 18:06 2019 Print This Article

Read time: 8 mins

By Erica Cirino. Originally posted on The Revelator, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The technology exists to hold polluters accountable, but can it now be used to help monitor pollution and prevent toxic messes?

In the early 2000s, residents of a small, Rust Belt city called Tonawanda, New York, began noticing something strange: Over the years, it seemed, an increasing number of people were getting sick — primarily with cancer.

Tonawanda’s a highly industrial city with more than 50 polluting facilities situated within a three-mile radius. It was common for the air to feel dense and to smell like gasoline. Residents wondered what toxic chemicals might be in the air and if they were making them sick.


coking coal

new york

citizen science

air pollution

clean air act

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About Article Author


DeSmogBlog exists to clear the PR pollution that is clouding the science on climate change. The DeSmogBlog Project began in January 2006 and quickly became the world’s number one source for accurate, fact based information regarding global warming misinformation campaigns. TIME Magazine named DeSmogBlog in its “25 Best Blogs of 2011” list. Articles and stories published by DeSmogBlog Project were reprinted by the New York Times DotEarth, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, ThinkProgress, and Treehugger, to name a few. DeSmogBlog has won the Canadian Public Relation Society’s Leadership in Communication award, and was voted Canada’s “Best Group Blog” by their peers. The DeSmogBlog team is led by Jim Hoggan, founder of James Hoggan & Associates, one of Canada's leading public relations firms. By training a lawyer, by inclination a ski instructor and cyclist, Jim Hoggan believes that integrity and public relations should not be at odds – that a good public reputation generally flows from a record of responsible actions. His client list includes real estate development companies, high tech firms, pharmaceutical, forest industry giants, resorts and academic institutions. He is also a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation.


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