Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Health Report

So, a week ago today I biked over to the post office near 43rd and Halsted to pick up a package. On the way home, I decided to bike through the Union Stockyards, once the core of this neighborhood. It's now an industrial park that employs a fair number of neighborhood folks--you can see them in the Dunkin Donuts at 45th and Ashland picking up coffee at 6:45, before their 7 a.m. shifts start. But the industrial park is far from the employment colossus that the stockyards once were.

When I first moved here, I biked through the stockyards quite often to get to work downtown. Riding at off-shift hours, I usually didn't hit much traffic and it was pleasant to bike through so much open space in the middle of the city. But when I mysteriously found myself saddled with three sinus infections that year, I decided I wasn't going to take a chance on biking through an industrial park any more.

If you drive along 47th Street at night between Ashland and Racine, you'll see a gigantic factory spewing white smoke into the sky. It's very Simpsons-esque. I don't know what's in that smoke but it certainly has made me wonder. I've had allergies and sinus trouble my whole life, but they have reached a new level of difficulty at times down here.

Anyway, here it is, a week after that bike ride, and last night through today I have had godawful allergies, congestion, sinus headache, etc. etc. It could be the time of year, it could be built up congestion--I had a bad headache one day in Colombia that could have been congestion-related--but somehow my gut says I really must not bike through the stockyards any more.

Anybody know anything about the pollutants factories there emit? Or how to find out that kind of thing?


Anonymous said...

Maritza, although i dont have the sinuses i do wonder what those factories are spewing because during the summer-time for about 3 days per week there is a strange smell a stench that takes a hold of this area and i hate it! We should start doing some research about this not just for you and i but for the community as a whole. I will try to gather some information for us hopefully next Tuesday i will have something. I know for a fact that there was a factory (dont recall what they produced) in the Pilsen community about 2 years ago and some community group forced the company to shut down until the levels of whatever contaminents they were spewing were back to the normal lever they were supposed to be. I believe the company was near Racine and Cermak not positive though. Talk to you soon, and hey is the Peace and Education Coalition meeting this month?

Maritza said...

I was hoping this post would spark a response like yours. I am under the gun with deadlines right now and do not have much time to research, but please post here again if you find out something. I have met people from the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and they could be a resource to us in looking at this problem. I'll post a link to them.

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