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newsrel -- West Oakland health assessment

Posted: 24 Apr 2008 13:12:36
Please consider the following Air Resources Board press release
regarding an assessment of air quality issues in West Oakland. 
You can see the release online here:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/nr042408.htm .
Thank You
Dimitri Stanich

Release 08-29
March 24, 2008
Leo Kay

ARB looks ahead to proposed landmark truck regulation after
Board hears West Oakland health assessment

Diesel emissions from freeway trucks are major contributors to
poor air quality

OAKLAND - Members of the Air Resources Board today emphasized
the importance of passing a proposed state regulation before the
Board later this year aimed at cleaning up emissions from 300,000
private diesel trucks after hearing a presentation from staff on
additional health risks posed to West Oakland residents
primarily by trucks transiting local freeways.

The study, developed in collaboration with the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District, the Maritime Port of Oakland and
Union Pacific Railroad, reveals that the estimated lifetime
potential cancer risk for residents of West Oakland from
exposure to diesel emissions is about 1,200 excess cancers per
million people. The analysis covers 3.1 million people who
reside in the affected area of 3,800 square miles. 

While diesel trucks account for a majority of the risk in West
Oakland resulting in about 850 potential cancer cases per
million or 70 percent, port operations account for an estimated
lifetime potential cancer risk of 200 excess cancer cases per
million, or about 15 percent of the total. Union Pacific
railyard emissions amount to a potential cancer risk of about 40
excess cancer cases per million, or less than 5 percent and the
remaining 10 percent of risk comes from a variety of diesel
sources such as passenger trains and construction projects.

"This health assessment strenghtens our resolve to clean up the
estimated 300,000 diesel trucks currently spewing
health-threatening soot throughout the state," ARB Chairman Mary
Nichols said. "If we fail to pass this regulation, West Oakland
residents will continue to be endangered by this huge
unregulated source of diesel emissions."

In the development of the ship emissions, ARB staff used
transponder data (continuously reports ship location) to more
accurate estimate where off-shore emissions are occurring.  For
the first time in a large risk assessment, a regional wind field
was generated using data from 30 onshore and 3 offshore weather
stations. The CALPUFF model was used to estimate the ambient
concentration of diesel particulate matter.  This model is
capable of producing more precise results than the models used
in the past due to its ability to account for highly varying
wind fields and complex terrain.

Emissions from diesel particulate matter are associated with
causing a variety of health effects including premature death
and a number of heart and lung diseases. The study also
estimates the yearly non-cancer health impacts resulting from
exposure to port-related diesel particulate matter emissions in
the area: 18 premature deaths (age 30 and older), 290 asthma
attacks, 2,600 days of work loss, and 15,000 minor restricted
activity episodes. 

Having identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air
contaminant in 1998 due to its potential to cause cancer and
other respiratory problems, ARB has put in place stringent
regulations to curve the health risk to Californians.  The most
recent adopted regulations to limit diesel emissions affect
cargo handling equipment, transport refrigeration units, truck
idling, off-road equipment, harbor craft, ship auxiliary
engines, port drayage trucks and ships-at-berth.  Also, the
introduction of cleaner fuel for railroads and ships has
contributed to lower pollution around the ports and railyards.

Later this year, ARB will be considering proposed regulations
involving on-road heavy duty diesel vehicles (trucks and buses)
and ocean-going vessel main engines to further reduce diesel
soot.  State control measures will contribute to an approximate
decrease of 80 percent in harmful emissions by 2015. 

For more information on the West Oakland health risk assessment,
please visit

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.


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