Environmental Impact Study: Dramatically Higher Air Pollution Deaths Near Lowry Avenue Bridge

Media  Advisory  and Press Release

Environmental Impact Study: Dramatically Higher Air Pollution Deaths Near Lowry Avenue Bridge

North and Northeast Minneapolis have an industrial air pollution problem, and a new study indicates that residents near the Lowry Ave. Bridge may be paying with their lives.

Members of the press are invited to attend a question and answer session with the study’s researchers, Tonye Sylvanus, MD, MPH, and Stephanie Yuen, MPH, on Monday July 25 at 9 AM at Jaros River Garden parking lot, 2500 Marshall St NE.  Community activists from Eastside Quality of Life (EEQL) will also be on hand to voice their concerns.  EEQL’s demands include improved permitting of VOCs at GAF Shingle Plant by the MPCA and that the City of Minneapolis not re-new the lease for the GAF plant that expires this year.

The Environmental Impact Study compares four census tracts surrounding the Lowry Bridge on both sides of the river to data from a same-sized control area in Mound, Minnesota. Results show a rate of air pollution related deaths in the Lowry Area census tracts as 330% higher than the rate of air pollution related deaths in the Mound Area. Overall cancer deaths are 310% higher in the Lowry Area than in the Mound Area while death rates from asthma are 844% higher than in the Mound Area.


Per 100,000 All Deaths All Cancers Lung Cancer Leukemia Bladder Cancer Asthma Other Cancer Air Pollution Related


CT1005 Marshall Terrace 790.02 172.17 49.88 0.00 2.45 4.99 119.85 57.31
CT1009 McKinley 901.50 177.33 42.43 2.26 1.33 1.33 122.50 45.08
CT1016 Hawthorne 2110.51 325.31 93.20 7.92 10.40 7.92 213.79 111.52
CT1017 Bottineau 1207.24 249.66 73.26 4.49 11.91 0.00 160.00 85.17
Lowry Area Census Tracts 1103 212.15 58.19 5.33 5.18 2.28 142.98 65.67
Mound Area Census
238.47 68.40 17.89 .98 1.77 .27 47.96 19.93
Minnesota 651.5* 161+ 40.4+ 7.64+ 4.04+ ___ ___ ___
US Overall 747* 171.7* 47.4* 6.9* 4.4* ___ ___ ___


*Data from 2010 only

+Data from 2009-2013

East Side Environmental Quality of Life (EEQL) is a group of concerned citizens from neighborhoods near the Lowry Avenue Bridge on both sides of the river who are working to solve serious air pollution concerns in their communities.  Funded and coordinated by the Bottineau Neighborhood Association (BNA), Phase One of EEQL’s Cancer and Air Pollution Death Study is now complete. Except where noted, data in the table above (95% confidence, 1.96% margin of error) was derived from 19 years of vital statistics provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. For statistical comparison to other epidemiological studies, all data is calculated at a rate of occurrence per 100,000 residents.

The study’s research coordinator, Tonye Slyvanus, is a Master of Public Health candidate at the University of Minnesota and a practicing MD from Nigeria. He was assisted by Stephanie Yuen, a BNA and EEQL volunteer who has a Master of Public Health degree focused on biostatistics and epidemiology from Oregon Science and Health University.

The next phase of EEQL’s cancer study will be to interview residents and former residents in the four Lowry census tracts indicated above to determine the extent of cancer illnesses among the living. People who are willing to volunteer for phase two of this study should contact Bottineau Neighborhood Association at 612-367-7262 and leave a message, or send an email to [email protected]. Duties will include mailing out the cancer survey, follow-up phoning of residents, Facebook and social media outreach, and neighborhood canvassing.

Contact: Nancy Przymus

[email protected]

2205 California Street #107, Minneapolis, MN 55418

612-367-7262, 612-801-7834