DEQ releases results of Hopewell air quality study

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - How safe is the air you're breathing? The results of an air quality study are out. The study focuses specifically on Hopewell.  It was conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Hopewell is often called the chemical capitol of the south. It's home to several chemical plants. It's also home to Marie Thorton. For years, she's wondered what impact, if any, are those plants having on the environment and her health.

"When you see the smoke coming up and you can smell it in the air -- we worry about that. What's it doing to our lungs -- that's mainly what I think about," said Thorton.

According to newly released results of a Hopewell air quality study -- there's no need for alarm, but there is cause for concern. In all, 67 chemical were studied. Most were found to be at a normal level but three chemicals came back with a higher than expected level.

DEQ is now taking a closer look at those three chemicals.

"We're looking at acrolein, formaldehyde, and carbon tetrachloride. We want to find out specifically where they might be coming from, how much of them are in the environment, and if there's any potential for how they might impact people's health," said DEQ spokesperson, Bill Hayden.

This new information is the second phase of the study which began back in 2006.

"We looked at Hopewell specifically because we know there are a lot chemical sources in that area and we wanted to learn more about it," said Hayden.

DEQ is also now analyzing several more chemicals beyond what was previously studied. As for residents like Thorton she's hoping for a clean and safe outcome.

DEQ says although those three chemicals came back higher than expected those increased numbers are not necessarily higher than any other parts of the state. To view the report, click here.

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