The factory was dumping 30,000 pounds of acetaldehyde, a possible carcinogen, into the surrounding area, according to Brian Beveridge, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicator's Project.
"[Emissions from the plant] were hard on people," said Beveridge
"It's an irritant for people who had a respiratory problem, and so many in West Oakland had asthma."
said neighbors had complained to the regional air quality officials, but the complaint process back then made it difficult to document the pollution.
said inspectors would be sent out after five complaints, but they weren't always on the clock when the releases happened, sometimes during the night.
The factory had been around for decades, so its air permits were "grandfathered," Beveridge
said, allowing it to perform less stringent air quality standards.
described Gordon as "tireless" and a believer in self-education.
"Someone else would have bought a new car," said Beveridge
What's the West Oakland Environmental Indicator's Project's next research question: "What's in the air we breathe," said Beveridge, who said the group is working with technology company Intel to test mobile devices that will allow residents to monitor air quality in real-time.
says the goal is to compare the data they collect with that collected by the regional air quality agency, which takes air samples in towers located two-miles apart and hundreds of feet in the air.
"From that they tell us what the air in like in the air basin, so it's always been an interest to know what do we really breathe," said Beveridge