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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Want to Know How to Score?

You’re breathing. Can’t much get around that one. But have you ever wondered what you’re breathing? Ever wanted to know how clean the air is where you’re breathing? Want to know who’s responsible for the smog that illuminates all those pretty sunsets you see, hacking a lung in the central artery jams on your way out of school? Want to know how the air you breathe in this county holds up against other counties across the nation? Well, www.scorecard.org is your one-stop source for all your pollution information needs, (consider it the Target for toxicity levels).

Did you know that 642, 110 people in Suffolk County face a cancer risk 100 times greater than the goal set by the Clean Air Act? Did you also know that 97% of that air cancer risk is caused by “mobile sources,” (cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, ships)? And that nationwide, mobile sources count for 75% of carbon monoxide pollution? In urban areas, i.e. Boston, cars alone account for 90% of carbon monoxide, (and carbon monoxide is not the kind of stuff we want to be replacing clean air with). So to a great extent I guess you can say (if you’re on 93, you’re in a car) that the one making you cough around rush hour is you. You, and the other tens of thousands of commuters that cruise the Artery through B-town every day. These, and all kinds of cool-strike that-very uncool facts about the environment are just waiting to be tapped into at www.scorecard.org. Just punch in the zip code of the town you want to check out, and it’ll pull up the most recent numbers available by the EPA for that county.

Want to know how Suffolk faired? Punch in 02125 and this is some of what you’ll find:

1) As of 1996, “Suffolk County ranked among the dirtiest/worst 10% of all counties in the US in terms of the number of people living in areas where noncancer risk from hazardous air pollutants exceeds one.”

2) In ’99,’Suffolk ranked in the worst 40% in terms of air and water releases of toxic chemicals.

3) 29,000 houses in Suffolk are considered at high risk for lead hazards.

In fact, lead is the top-ranked en vironmental problem in Suffolk. Here’s where that old adage that “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” needs to be restated to say something more like… “what you don’t know can potentially make you sick or dead.” Though it may not be as bad as it seems. Scorecard admits that the numbers they have on air quality standards are based on the EPA’s National-Scale Air Toxic Assessment conducted in 1996, and may not reflect recent air toxin reductions at the Federal or State levels, or industry initiatives since then. Yet even with five year-old statistics, these numbers probably better represent what’s in what you’re breathing better than the air does on its own on the way into your lungs.

So check it out for yourself. Go to: www.scorecard.org and just punch in your zip. Unless you’ve got a modem from the ’80s, it’ll pull up the numbers faster than you can say “choke.” Take care of yourselves. Ignorance may be bliss, but when getting info is this easy, you got no excuse to be dumb.