By Julia Carrie Wong : sfweekly – excerpt
When the Embarcadero BART station opened in 1976, the east wall was adorned by a 50-foot-tall sculpture made of 7,000 pounds of bright orange rope. By the time artist Barbara Shawcroft’s massive macrame was dismantled in 2014, after decades of bureaucratic tangling and artistic recrimination, the rope was as black as soot.
The air (and dust) that soiled tons of rope is also the air that thousands of commuters and transit workers breathe every day. And according to a group of young scientists, that air is potentially hazardous to your health.
Problems with the BART station’s air were first identified in 2011 by The East Bay Academy for Young Scientists, which partners public school students with U.C. Berkeley undergrads and science instructors to perform real-world experiments. That year, EBAYS students measured the concentration of particulate matter (PM) at BART stations — and found that PM concentration at Embarcadero was “through the roof,” says Kevin Cuff, EBAYS’s program director. “It was significantly in excess of what the EPA says are safe levels… It’s a significant health concern to children and adults with upper respiratory issues.”… (more)
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