On October 9th, Members of BYP went to the air quality lab at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health as part of a project focusing on air quality in Braddock and Clairton. The project aims to determine air quality based on the concentrations of pollutants in tree leaves. A specific species of tree is being used to collect samples, acer platanoides, or the Norway Maple. This project is being led by PhD students Sara Gillooly and Leah Cambal, with the oversight of Dr. Kyra Shields, Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice and Dr. Jill Kriesky, Senior Program Coordinator at the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities.
BYP youth have been involved in this project since early September, collecting leaves which will eventually be analyzed for pollutants linked to bad air quality, especially particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers in diameter, or PM 2.5. It is roughly 1/7 as wide as a single strand of hair, and because of this PM 2.5 is able to penetrate our skin and bloodstream very easily. The EPA has found PM 2.5 to pose a significant health risk that can cause respiratory problems, asthma, and cardiovascular problems such as heart attack. Sampling in Clairton is being done in partnership with the All Mothers Are Blessed Program.
Once the research results come in, BYP youth will be presenting the project at a community meeting on December 4th at the Nyia Page Community Center. More details to follow.