Breathe in. Breathe out. Unlike water, air doesn’t come bottled at the supermarket. Unlike water, it’s abundantly available. We simply breathe it in. In a natural state, we would assume it’s clean because it’s a natural process of life.
Unfortunately, our air is easily polluted with a variety of unhealthy compounds that come primarily from big industry.
Whether they are located near chemical companies, oil and gas refineries, coal plants, or large concentrated animal feed operations, many New Mexicans find themselves breathing in toxic air emissions, without the benefit of adequate monitoring to know what they are breathing.
While the New Mexico Air Quality Bureau’s Air Quality Index is based on the monitoring of a few pollutants, which include ground-level ozone, nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter, there is no monitoring for, or regulations set for, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and other toxic pollutants like benzene and toluene, heavy metals, and dioxins.
The question in many of our communities literally has become: Do you know what is in the air you are breathing?
Without the data that monitoring of industrial air emissions would produce, public health studies can’t draw connections between air quality and persistent medical problems that often plague our communities—like asthma and cancer.
We must act.
We’ve formed ‘bucket brigades’ to collect air samples and examine the air our families breath—and we’re taking action to make it the clean air we need. By joining together, we can make the air we all breathe healthier. Join us, be a part of the solution, and help New Mexicans get a breath of fresh air.