I want to warn you concerning the "Springfield Air Quality Monitoring Study" being used by the group One Air Alliance to push for a Springfield smoking ban. A similar study was used by Smoke Free St. Louis City to push for a St. Louis smoking ban. Both studies achieve startling conclusions by misapplying the EPA’s Air Quality Index. Both studies take the EPA outdoor standard, a standard set to reflect 24 hour outdoor air conditions, and use that standard to judge the safety of indoor workplace air, a use for which it was never designed and never intended.
In the "Springfield Air Quality Monitoring Study", ten Springfield establishments that allow smoking were found to have on average level 162 ug/m3 of pm 2.5, a level of respirable particles which would be of concern according to the EPA if generally present in outdoor air. But OSHA, the governmental agency charged with the protection of health in indoor workplaces, recognizes that such a strict standard is not necessary to protect worker health indoors. Indeed, if imposed, such a standard would shut down many industries. OSHA allows up to 5,000 ug/m3 in workplace air before it requires a business to clear particles from the indoor air with ventilation or filtration. Clearly, Springfield bars and restaurants are already well within OSHA air safety standards.
Of course, any bar or restaurant would do well to install the best ventilation and filtration technology available. Affordable air filtration machines are readily available that remove even the finest airborne particulates and that can make the air of a bar or restaurant that allows smoking cleaner than the air outdoors. Would One Air Alliance be willing to exempt Springfield "smoking allowed" establishments from a smoking ban that earn a GOOD or MODERATE rating on the EPA Air Quality Index through air filtration, despite their indoor smoking?
A further caution concerning the One Air Alliance study is that its tests were done furtively, without the permission or cooperation of the tested establishments, with technology that had to be small enough to remain hidden and escape detection, and were conducted in part by inexperienced, activist volunteers. Roger Jenkins, formerly a lead secondhand smoke researcher at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has written concerning the difficulty of conducting such tests even under ideal circumstances, with full cooperation of tested establishments, with the best equipment and a team of trained researchers. (Please see the attached peer-reviewed study.) According to Dr. Jenkins, unless expertly calibrated, testing machines can readily show three times the actual level of respirable particles present. Even measurements taken too close to clothing can cause readings to spike. The inexperience of the One Air Alliance volunteers may well account for the two oddly high readings reported in the "Springfield Air Quality Monitoring Study". Without those two high readings of 237.5 and 829.8, the average reading of tested Springfield establishments would be 69 ug/m3, not 162.
As a researcher for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dr. Jenkins conducted the largest studies ever conducted of worker exposure to secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants across the country. In a letter to the St. Louis County Council last year, Dr. Jenkins reported the results of his research:
“Overall concentrations of ETS were fairly low: the highest concentration of particles measured in any facility were still 1/7th of the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit, and the median area concentration of nicotine was less than 1 part per billion.”
Please find this letter and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory bar and restaurant secondhand smoke studies attached.
Springfield City Council members, I would strongly suggest that Springfield bars be retested by a professional, nonpartisan air quality testing firm. Given the economic harm Missouri cities such as Columbia and Ballwin have seen due to their smoking bans, it seems only fair that Springfield bars have their air accurately measured and the test results competently interpreted.
Keep St. Louis Free is a group that fights to protect the personal freedoms and property rights of St. Louisans from dumb government intervention and harassment. We are willing to help anyone in St. Louis whose freedom and property rights are threatened. We have worked to protect property owners from eminent domain abuse and strongly support the gun rights of St. Louisans. But we have had our greatest success during the past 7 years defending the freedom and property rights of St. Louis City and County business owners from an unjustified smoking ban.
Keep St. Louis Free works to elect and support political leaders who respect the freedoms and property rights of St. Louis citizens.
If you care about St. Louis freedom and property rights, please join. We have fought against all sorts of unjust and irrational theft and restriction by government in St. Louis over years. Our campaign really began with a protest against the taking by St. Louis University head Fr. Biondi of our beloved music venue 20North back in 1999. Though many of our members have a special dislike for smoking bans and a reputation for defeating them, YOU DON"T HAVE TO OPPOSE SMOKING BANS TO JOIN!
My family has lived in St. Louis since the 1840's. I got interested in defending St. Louis freedoms and property rights from dumb government intervention after Father Biondi and the St. Louis Board of Alderman took away my friend's bar, 20 North, just after I had restored its exterior, to tear it down and plant grass. I started "Keep St. Louis Free!" to fight Kurt Odenwald's attempt to put a smoking ban on bars in St. Louis County. I don't want my kids to smoke but I also don't want them to grow up in a country, or a city, where it is illegal for a man to smoke a cigar in a bar. City officials should always err on the side of freedom and property rights.
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