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Ili Ruin Nava International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. 3601 S. Congress off E Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar Las Brisas opponents paid for this controversial billboard along Corpus’ Crosstown Expressway. photo by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times urine samples, to have levels of benzene 28o times the national average. \(Benzene is a chemical compound that’s been directly Of course, as the refineries and their apologists are quick to point out, no study has yet been able to conclusively establish the causes behind the statistics. But what some studies have shown is that Corpus citizens living near Refinery Row are far likelier to suffer serious health problems. Again, even without Las Brisas, the city is already in a state of “borderline non-attainment” of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone standards. A 7 o -percent increase in industrial air pollution could send Corpus into “non-attainment” statuswhich would mandate financial burdens on local businesses and private citizens for things like vehicle emissions tests. \(Houston, Dallas and Beaumont have already reached non-attainment status, which means that Las Brisas could not Las Brisas and the TCEQ insist that the rise in emissions would not cause Corpus to slip into non-attainment status. But environmental groups fiercely contest this claim. They also point out that already, on 34 days in 2008, Corpus Christi’s ozone reached levels that the American Academy of Pediatrics considers dangerous to children’s health. Because of their small, developing bodies, children are disproportionately affected by air pollution, a fact that helps explain why so many Corpus pediatricians have joined the opposition to Las Brisas. In its preliminary approval of Las Brisas, the TCEQ struck a reassuring tone: “It is not expected that existing health conditions will worsen, or that there will be adverse health effects … as a result of exposure to the expected levels of emissions from this site:’ But to some local medical authorities, that seems implausible. Last Feb. 15, the Nueces County Medical Society summarized its collective opinion in a Caller-Times ad: “Las BrisasHealth Care Disaster for Corpus Christi.” This disaster, says the society, would result from projected increases in Nueces County’s yearly emissions of nitrogen oxide by 34 percent, sulfur dioxide by 235 percent, and Pm10 \(particulate 58 percent. \(These calculations are based on data As some of you might remember from a long-ago science class, nitrogen oxide creates ozone, and sulfur dioxide creates acid rain and can provoke asthma attacks. And particulate matter refers to tiny, sooty particles that get released into the atmosphere when stuff like coal or pet coke gets burned. Particulate matter is classified by its size, and in this case, size matters. Because if it’s teensy enough-2.5 micrometers or less AUGUST 7, 2009 TEXASOBSERVER.ORG 17