AAH received a grant from the Hershey Foundation to support a pilot project to strengthen our understanding of threats to air quality caused by concrete batch plants in Houston neighborhoods, particularly environmental justice communities. In addition to a growing petrochemical industry and an expanding port, there are now an estimated 188 concrete batch plants within Harris County – twice the number of Dallas and the most number of plants in Texas.
Concrete batch plants compromise public health and quality of life when located in residential areas by increasing dust, noise and truck traffic (source of diesel emissions) and many of these facilities are located in environmental justice communities. Exposure to cement dust can impair lung function and has been associated with lung, stomach and colon cancer. Last year the City of Houston conducted an investigation of 40 concrete batch plants and found over 40 violations including the lack of use of adequate dust controls and visible emissions leaving property lines.
Along with plans to conduct air monitoring in several communities, AAH will use the grant to develop an interactive map that illustrates the distribution of concrete batch plants in the region, their proximity to TCEQ air monitors and, various community assets such as schools, hospitals, and community centers to identify potential risks to residents’ health at the neighborhood level.