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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer February 21, 2008
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Imagine RIT

Innovation + Creativity Festival

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Each issue of News & Events will feature a project to be showcased at Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 3. This week’s spotlight:

Exposure to toxic pollutants: How does your community rank?

Presenters: Bríd Gleeson Hanna, Daniel Hatch and Christopher Lominac. Hanna is a faculty member and Hatch and Lominac are students in the College of Liberal Arts.

Brief description: The study developed a measure of a community’s exposure to toxic emissions from EPA-regulated industries. A ranking system allowed them to see how a community’s exposure value ranks relative to all other communities in New York state, relative to all other communities with a similar average income with a similar industrial structure. The analysis will allow them to examine how exposure to toxic pollutants correlates with socio-economic characteristics of communities.

How is the exhibit creative and/or innovative: The measure of pollution exposure takes into account distance from the pollution source and meteorological conditions such as wind speed and wind direction. It also factors in differences in the toxicity of the various chemicals emitted by industries. The measure is based upon a model of air-pollution dispersal that is used in environmental science. The aim is to provide information on industrial pollution in a clearer manner than is currently presented, and to present it in a manner that is more meaningful to residents.

Exhibit experience for visitors: Results will be presented in the form of a set of maps allowing visitors to see how pollution varies over space and across income levels. The group is also building a database that will allow visitors to type in their zip code of residence and view a pollution exposure figure for that zip code with an explanation of what that figure means.

For more information on the Innovation and Creativity Festival, visit www.rit.edu/imagine.

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