Community meeting

The EPA will hold a community meeting in Laredo this week

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) — A long-awaited conversation is finally happening.

The Environmental Protection Agency is visiting Laredo to hear residents’ concerns about toxicity in our town.

This is a major concern that has haunted Laredo residents for several months now.

Worried members of the community have battled ethylene oxide emissions from Midwest sterilization and they could get some answers this week as the EPA is set to hold a community meeting.

Residents believe the conversation is long overdue.

“I spoke to a woman who said her child died and all she knew was that it was environmental,” said Vanessa Perez, a member of the Clean Air Laredo Coalition. “I’ve spoken to business owners who said they had employees who had cancer and it was very aggressive, it kept coming back.”

The coalition says it has many expectations for the meeting.

“Hopefully the EPA will, one, change their policies to be stricter so they don’t allow as many emissions, if any. ‘use ethylene oxide and adopt other methods,’” Perez said.

And the minimum they expect is an air monitoring program.

As they feel it is contradictory for the Midwest to claim to have unattended clean air.

As residents of the area grow concerned about the amount of contamination in the air.

The coalition explains that its goal is not anti-business, as there are several alternatives for sterilizing equipment that do not contaminate or harm humans.

“There’s hydrogen peroxide, which is what people normally think of when you have a scratch or when you’re going to disinfect something in your house. There is steam, which is basically very hot water. And there are gamma rays that they can use as well,” Sheila Serna said.

The coalition expects this conversation to be just the first of many and hopes it can lead to new partnerships between federal and state agencies.

“We’re hoping we’ll put enough pressure on the EPA that they can also allocate some of their funds for side-by-side monitoring with us,” Serna said.

The meet will take place on Thursday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the TAMIU Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall at 5201 University Boulevard.

Click on here to register for the meeting.

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