Acting Locally: Merging Environmental Technology with Neighborhood Improvement
Air Toxics Bucket Brigade
Lead Safe Yards
Paso Del Notre
Air Toxics Bucket Brigade
Jefferson Parish Project
Lake Access Project
Acting Locally Home
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Cause for Concern
Residents of Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area of California have long suspected that something in the air may be affecting their health. But without access to accurate air quality information, individuals, environmental groups, government agencies and businesses have had a hard time identifying specific problems, and acting to solve them. Residents felt they had the right and responsibility to know what they and their children were breathing.

Air Toxics Bucket Brigade Photos
Community Involvement
The Air Toxics Bucket Brigade is a program formed by a broad partnership of organizations in order to help community members find out exactly what chemicals are in their air through the use of some simple technology. Volunteer teams of “sniffers” and “samplers” use air pumps attached to bags inside five-gallon buckets to collect air samples whenever people detect a foul odor in the air. These samples are then tested in laboratories to determine which toxins were released at what time in what quantities. The data is compiled into a database that helps satisfy residents’ right to know what they’re breathing in.

Air Toxics Bucket Brigade Photos
Knowledge Is Power
Everyone has a role to play in making sure our air is safe — citizens, corporations and government. Access to accurate information about air quality is a necessary part of this process. The Bucket Brigades have found that businesses and government agencies are more likely to respond to community concerns when they know people are organized and aware about exactly what pollutants their communities are facing. The Bucket Brigades are a great first step in "taking back your air."

Air Toxics Bucket Brigade Photos

More information…
Global Community Monitor
Find out how to establish an air monitoring program in your community. This organization goes to all parts of the world

Bucket Brigades of Contra Costa County
Get an overview of the Bucket Brigade program, as well as access to their database on chemical releases in the area.

Bucket Brigade Quality Assurance Program Plan
Find out the steps the Bucket Brigade has taken to make sure their data is accurate and reliable.

EMPACT Technology Transfer
Discover ways your community can start an air quality-monitoring program, with these helpful how-to manuals from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Investigate how different forms of pollution are effecting your community using a variety of environmental maps.

Communities for a Better Environment
How other communities are using air quality monitoring to help improve quality-of-life in their neighborhoods.

ConocoPhillips Refinery Air Quality Data
View air toxics monitoring data from optical monitors at an oil refinery in Rodeo, California.

Refinery Reform Campaign
A national campaign seeking to clean up America's oil refineries and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

The videos on this site are part of an hour long video produced by the Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania/GreenWorks for the Environmental Protection Agency's EMPACT Program. To get a copy of the entire video, contact EFP/GreenWorks at

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