Air Toxics Studies

IDEM is actively seeking a better understanding of how air toxics affect the health of Hoosiers. Tools such as the ToxWatch Monitoring Network and National Air Toxics Assessment have helped IDEM identify areas that warrant special attention. IDEM has conducted two community-scale air toxics risk assessments and has plans to conduct more in the future:

  • Indiana Lakeshore Air Toxics Screening:
    • IDEM conducted an assessment of air toxics in the highly industrialized and heavily traveled area of Lake and Porter Counties. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) identified this area as a potential high risk area via its 2005 NATA. IDEM performed a detailed evaluation using methods specifically developed for evaluating air quality on a community-level scale. IDEM evaluated ambient air monitoring data and performed air dispersion modeling of industrial and mobile sources (cars and trucks) within the study area to assess potential health risks. The results of the study indicate that air toxics concentrations and risk within the lakeshore area are not as high as reported by previous national scale screening analyses.
  • IPS School 21 Risk Characterization and Reduction Project:
    • The School 21 project was spurred by community concerns and involved 5 years of active air toxics monitoring as well as an extensive modeling effort. No non-cancer hazards were found in the study area. Cancer risk was found to be elevated but still within acceptable levels as defined by the U.S. EPA.
  • Southwest Indianapolis Air Toxics Study:
    • The Southwest Indianapolis Air Toxics Study was initiated because the 2002 NATA found southwest Indianapolis to have some of the highest air toxics concentrations in the nation. IDEM partnered with U.S. EPA and the City of Indianapolis to better quantify the impact of air toxics in the area. Through two years of monitoring and an extensive modeling effort it was found that southwest Indianapolis' non-cancer hazards and cancer risks were similar to those found in other metropolitan areas around the country.