Low-income communities of color in Southern California are often exposed to the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium (aka. hex chrome) from local metalworking companies that release it into the air. Concerned residents in the City of Paramount (Los Angeles) organized and pressured the local air quality agency to measure levels of pollution. Unsurprisingly, they found levels of airborne hex chrome up to 350 times higher than the surrounding region.
After a lawsuit by the Center for Environmental Health, the polluting facilities were required to perform additional air monitoring and provide the data to CEH and the residents. The raw data they shared was not easy to interpret and didn’t readily show trends of pollution.
In response to community need for more understandable air monitoring data, I created an online dashboard where residents can type in the address of their home, school or workplace and see recent hexavalent chromium levels from nearby air monitoring stations. I designed and programmed this web application using R and deployed it with Shinyapps. The raw data is read from multiple Google Sheets that are periodically updated by CEH and parsed into interactive graphs in the application.