EPA: Hamilton County residents at higher risk of developing canc - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

EPA: Hamilton County residents at higher risk of developing cancer

HAMILTON COUNTY (FOX19) – A disturbing report has been released saying that if you live in Hamilton County, you may be at a higher risk of developing cancer.

The Ohio EPA says levels of air pollution in Hamilton County are above what is considered acceptable.

The recent study by the EPA is the result of 10 years of air quality testing. Since 2000, samples from various locations in every county in Ohio were taken and sent to the state toxicologist.

Mobile source emissions, like cars, factory smoke stacks, and even cigarettes, are just a few of the contributors that make Hamilton County air toxic, causing high cancer risks.

"I mean I had no idea...so it's kind of shocking," said Evan Wallace, Hamilton County resident.

The main chemicals that put our air slightly above acceptable levels are Acrylonitrile and Benzene. Acroylonitrile comes from plants that make plastics. Benzene comes from car and truck emissions.

"Benzene is found in the gasoline or the diesel fuel; and then as that fuel is burned it emits Benzene," said Brad Miller with the Hamilton County Environmental Services.

In Hamilton County, the three major interstates: I-75, I-71, and I-275 means more traffic, which means higher emissions.

"In the more urban areas that have a lot of interstates, you see higher emissions as compared to a rural county where you don't have as much truck traffic," said Miller. "We have a lot of pass through truck traffic that uses interstate 75 so we suffer the impact of those emissions."

Some residents by choice or habit, choose other means of transportation that help reduce the amount of emissions in Hamilton County.

"I ride the bus, I don't have a car, but I mean in a city it's kind of hard to tell people not to use their car, everyone is going to drive it because they have to go places," said Wallace.

Evan Wallace has lived in Hamilton County for most of his life. He says the results aren't shocking, and even his friends that come to visit make comments about the air. "I've heard people complain about the air here and I have friends from other cities that say it bothers their asthma and stuff like that. So I've kind of known it had some problems."

The figures from the study have been compiled over the last 1o years. Essentially, this means that if you breathe the air in Hamilton County for 30 to 70 years, the EPA says you have a higher risk of getting cancer.

Other counties that reportedly run a high cancer risk in Ohio include Columbiana, Jefferson and Washington Counties in Eastern Ohio, Marion County in Central Ohio, and Montgomery and Scioto Counties in Southern Ohio.

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