The Alliance For A Clean Environment
desires-or as ACE explained, whenever the air smells funny-can pull out the bucket and for a relatively inexpensive price ($150 for the bucket, $500 for the testing, and $15 for refill bags) test the air.
At the press conference, situated fittingly on a grassy hill overlooking what environmentalists claim is one of the area's largest polluters, Occidental Chemical, it was Bill Smedley who brought the brigade into the state.
These buckets "are incredible power tools for communities," explained the executive director of the environmental organization GreenWatch.
"For the first time (individuals) are able to draw an (air) sample, relatively cheaply, and without having to rely on state regulators or government agencies." Smedley continued.
Along with introducing the brigade, ACE used the event to promote an upcoming documentary on HBO called "Blue Vinyl." The movie is about a child's journey to finding an affordable and safer alternative to her parents use of vinyl siding, and during the odyssey, a line is connected between the consumer, the PVC worker and people who live near vinyl factories, like Occidental Chemical in Pottstown.
Louise Simon is a perfect example, and connection to the individuals in "Blue Vinyl."
The longtime resident just recently moved from her home of 20 years that happened to be a short trip down wind from Occidental Chemical, and the amounts of vinyl chloride it pumps into the air each years as it makes PVC in its Pottstown plant.
"Vinyl chloride permeated my home, furniture, curtains and clothes," Simon said in released statement. "My entire quality of life was destroyed by Occidental's fumes of vinyl chloride. I was forced against my will to breathe in poisonous fumes on a daily basis, that I felt would eventually be the death of me if I did not get away."
ACE will hold a workshop on September 23 to better present the Bucket Brigade program and its hopeful effect on the area.
For more information, not only about the brigade, but about Pottstown's air quality issues in general, contact ACE President Lewis Cuthbert at ACE, P.O. Box 3063, Stowe, PA 19464.
The Pottstown Mercury
© April 27, 2002
P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464
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Bucket Brigade forms
to test local air quality
POTTSTOWN - Pottstown's air may be among the poorest, not only in the county or the state, but also in the nation.
What the Alliance For A Clean Environment is hoping to accomplish with its newest initiative - the Bucket Brigade - is to prove exactly what contaminates fill the air Pottstown residents breathe daily.
The state does test the air, but with only one testing site located in Pottstown-a number that's inadequately low, according to ACE-the government "is not doing its job in testing the air." Pottstown Mayor Anne Jones said at Friday's press conference, "so it's time for people to take some responsibility."
And with the Bucket Brigade the community can get involved.
Using what looks like a medium sized pail, these high-tech sampling kits are easy for the average person to operate as a vacuum sucks air into the bucket for storage in a three-liter plastic bag that is then sent away for testing.
The interesting part about the bucket is a resident, at any time he or she..