Ambient (Outdoor) Air Quality
On average, you breathe 15 times every minute. Most of the time, you do it without even thinking. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s that simple. But what are you inhaling each time you take a breath? Is it fresh, clean air or does it contain invisible hazards?
Air quality is a priority to the LTBB Natural Resource Department - Environmental Services Program. According to the LTBB Tribal Emissions Inventory conducted in 2007, there are over one hundred known point sources (sources that emit criteria pollutant concentrations equal to or greater than one hundred tons per year) within the reservation boundaries that are emitting elevated levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nitrous Oxides, the atmospheric precursors to ozone. These elevated emissions will continue to be observed to ensure the highest possible level of air quality on the LTBB reservation. Other potential emitters of air pollution within the reservation boundary include automobiles, snowmobiles, boats, incinerators, transfer station/landfills, industry, refuse burn barrels, etc. The Tribe is concerned with the bioaccumulation of air toxics in subsistence foods such as fish, wildlife, and plants. The quality of these subsistence foods directly impacts the health of the Tribal community.
Increased energy production and energy consumption are also contributing factors to increased emissions throughout the LTBB airshed1 . The LTBB business enterprises alone consume over 5 million kilowatts of electricity annually. The production of energy resources leads to increased concentrations of sulfur dioxide and other hazardous air pollutants such as fluoride and hydrochloric acid. It is important to examine the total energy consumption among the LTBB community and operations in order to improve the overall environmental quality on the LTBB reservation lands. Energy conservation can be achieved through the use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. Please see theprogram for more information and energy saving tips.
1 An airshed is a geographic area where air pollutants from sources within the same air circulate or are present in the atmosphere. LTBB has defined its airshed as a 25-mile radius around the Reservation.
Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is affected by pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air. There are many sources of indoor air pollution, including: oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, tobacco products, asbestos-containing insulation, dampness or wet walls and carpets, household cleaning products, and many more. Indoor air quality can also be affected by outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides and ambient air pollution.
Radon is a colorless, gaseous radioactive element that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust throughout much of the continent. Radon has numerous scientific and medical uses including cancer treatment, radiography (x-rays), and leak detection. However, radon is extremely toxic and you cannot see, smell or taste it. High exposures over long periods of time can lead to lung cancer. Behind smoking, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Testing for Radon
LTBB NRD provides radon test kits free to Tribal Citizens. The best time to conduct a radon test successfully is during October through March, when the windows and doors remain mostly closed. This is to prevent outside air from interfering with the test and possibly affecting the results. The short-term radon test kit takes 3-7 days to complete and results will be sent directly to your home. Included with the kits is information about radon and detailed instructions on how to conduct a successful test in your home.
For more information on indoor air quality or to request a radon test kit, please contact Jon Mauchmar, Environmental Specialist at (231) 242-1578 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Look for information about Radon Action Week each year in October!