High air pollution is under the microscope of MuckRock, a journalism non-profit that looked at air quality across Chicago and found troubling levels in several neighborhoods like Little Village and Austin.
The results, found using Microsoft sensor data and due to be released this week, are troubling to residents in these neighborhoods.
“My daughter, the oldest, is 7 years old and she has asthma,” said Rosilia Iman, who lives in Little Village and has two daughters, Roselyn and Alessandra.
“I asked the doctor why,” said Iman, “and the doctor said it’s because of the air pollution.”
Air pollution is visible, she said, in areas like 26th Street near Central Park and California avenues and the intersection of California and Cermak in her neighborhood.
“We should think about what we are creating for our children,” she said.
MuckRock said the city is studying the effects of industrial corridors and truck traffic, implying those factors might be causing elevated levels of air pollution.
Analysts also found that the worst air pollution levels in areas with Microsoft sensors were largely those in communities of color.
Doctors said the bad air quality can lead to severe health complications.
“Long-term effects can be cause of heart attacks, it could be lung cancer,” said Dr. Juanita Mora, the national medical spokesperson with the American Lung Association. “Long-term exposure of air particle pollution can definitely result in premature death.”
Iman hopes her family can live full lives without health concerns but wants everyone to pitch in.
“I think that it’s not just the authorities that matter for change but people, because I have two neighbors who still burn garbage,” she said.
NBC 5 reached out to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office for comment on MuckRock’s study on the disparities of Chicago neighborhoods affected by air pollution and we are still waiting to hear back.
MuckRock told NBC 5 it will release its full analysis on Wednesday.
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