Seattle and Tacoma Air Toxics Study

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Starting in the fall of 2021, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will be measuring a type of air pollution called air toxics in Seattle and Tacoma. Air toxics are a group of over 400 pollutants known or suspected to cause several health problems; including cancer and birth defects, as well as damage to lungs, immune systems, and nervous systems.  

This study will gather important air quality data and help us better understand the health risks associated with air pollution. This study will look at changes in air toxics levels over time including diesel exhaust sources, wood smoke, and metal emissions in industrial areas. We will estimate potential cancer risk from these air toxics.  

Air Toxic Study Fact Sheets

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Air Toxics in the Duwamish Valley

One area where we will be placing monitors is in Seattle’s Duwamish Valley and there is an opportunity for community-directed monitoring. This part of the study will include community members in the process of identifying locations of interest in the Duwamish Valley. 

The study aligns with goals set by the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition’s Clean Air Program. Recently – in a separate study – the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps partnered with the US Forest Service, and others to look at heavy metals found in moss on street trees. It’s impossible to translate the results from the moss to human health risk without air sampling, which this study will help do.  

Community Input

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On Tuesday, August 17th, we hosted a workshop in collaboration with the Duwamish River Clean-Up Coalition in South Park. We introduced information on air toxics, shared recent moss study results, and listened to participants' valuable input.

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Survey

We invited community members to share their input input and identify locations that should be prioritized for study through an online survey. The survey was open from August 6 - September 22, 2021, and was available in English, Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Khmer. 

Survey Results

The community survey results indicate community members are primarily interested in monitoring in residential areas, particularly in South Park and Georgetown. Areas of interest also included "hot spots" identified by the moss study, industrial sources, and King County International Airport. 

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Next Steps

We will place air monitoring equipment early in 2022 and collect results for up to six months. The study results will be available in late 2022. We will continue to update this page as the study progresses. 

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns at ej@pscleanair.gov