By Charles Sercombe
Been hacking and wheezing a bit?
Besides battling seasonal allergies at this time of the year, Hamtramck residents face a more serious health threat: air pollution.
According to statistics compiled by the federal Environmental Protection Agency of toxic levels in all of the state’s postal zip codes (which were made available through the Detroit Free Press), Hamtramck ranks 27th highest.
The zip code 48217, which is southwest Detroit, has the worst pollution.
The average level of toxicity in communities throughout the state is 56. Hamtramck’s rate is 295.22, while southwest Detroit is at 2576.22. As you would guess, southwest Detroit and downriver have the highest toxic levels because of the heavy industry located there.
In the past, Hamtramck has faced high fallout of lead from nearby factories. Several years ago the EPA offered free testing at households near I-75 and replaced lawns and shrubs where high levels of lead were found.
Hamtramck also receives fallout from Detroit’s incinerator as well as the GM Poletown plant.
In the past, there used to be far more manufacturing plants operating nearby. If anything, Hamtramck’s air is probably cleaner that it was decades ago. Still, there are a significant number of children in the area who suffer from asthma, which is believed to be linked to pollution.
For years, many residents have complained of a gritty, dark coating of dust that builds up in homes quickly throughout the week.
On top of being bombarded by pollutants in the air and ground, many households here have old coatings of lead paint, which can be highly toxic to children who ingest paint chips.
If you think living in the suburbs is better, you’d be surprised how worse it can get: Lake Orion is 12th highest in toxic levels, Warren is ranked 13th and Troy comes in 17th.