Texas’ air quality harms our quality of life and physical health. Poor air quality puts the most vulnerable among us, like children and seniors, at risk for asthma, strokes, and other illnesses.

An MIT report shows air pollution cuts short the lives of more than 12,000 Texans (and 200,000 nationally) each year from cancer, heart disease and other health problems. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that in 2012 about 74 million people in the U.S. are exposed to levels of particulate matter higher than the limit and that more than 131 million live in regions not compliant with maximum allowable ozone levels.

According to the UT School of Public Health, children living within two miles of the heavily industrialized Houston Ship Channel face a 56% greater risk of contracting leukemia, which researchers link to oil refineries and chemical plants. And our research has found that Houston-area petrochemical facilities violated clean air laws at least 405 times in 2015, illegally releasing 5 million pounds of pollution, including chemicals linked to cancer and heart disease.

As a Neighborhood Witness, you can crack down on unauthorized pollution and hold polluters accountable for violations of the law. These companies should install stronger pollution controls to reduce pollution that can cause cancer and pay stiff penalties when they break the law.

We have a moral responsibility to care for future generations and clean up Texas’ air to provide a better quality of life for those most at risk.


Read the best science, the latest research, and the most important information about toxic substances and how they affect our health at the Toxic Substances Portal.


Recent polling in the Houston region found that the threat of unauthorized air pollution raises significant concerns, with roughly half of all voters saying they are very concerned — and a total of 84% very or somewhat concerned.

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