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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Air Pollution’

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    LA Times Editorial: The air near LA’s freeways? How dangerous?

    Check out today’s LA Times editorial on monitoring air pollution near freeways — read more about PSR-LA’s role in pushing the EPA to take action in last week’s post, “PSR-LA Air Pollution Lawsuit Featured in LA Times and CBS“.

    The air near L.A.’s freeways: How dangerous?

    Pollution along the region’s freeways has been ignored for too long. But what can be done to improve it?

    By The Times editorial board
    September 3, 2013

    You know something is off base when the regional air district monitors and regulates emissions from fire pits on Southern California’s beaches, which affect a handful of homeowners, before it gets around to the 24/7 blasts of pollution along the area’s freeways. That’s not entirely the fault of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, though. Unhealthful emissions from cars and especially trucks along the freeways have fallen into a regulatory black hole until now.

    The AQMD regulates only stationary polluters — industrial plants, residential fireplaces, fire pits and the like. But while the freeways are stationary, the cars and trucks that cause the pollution are mobile. So even though the freeways are emitting pollutants all the time — a never-ending source of ultra-fine particulate matter and other noxious emissions that repeated studies have linked to health problems among the people who live closest to them — they are not in fact regulated by the AQMD. In the four counties covered by the South Coast AQMD, that’s more than 1 million people. The air district has done occasional spot monitoring, but none of its 35 permanent stations is near a freeway because such stations are supposed to measure regional, not localized, pollution levels. That’s an outdated way of gauging the damage caused by air pollution, from before the health dangers of particulates were well understood.

    Continue reading the full editorial at the LA Times

  • PSR-LA Air Pollution Lawsuit Featured in LA Times and CBS

    angela-cbs-screenshotLast year, we announced our law suit to demand that the EPA place air monitors near freeways to determine exactly how much particulate matter is reaching the many families and communities who live within 300 yards of these major roadways. Studies show that women who live near heavy traffic roadways have a greater risk of having a low birth weight child and the child is more likely to develop asthma. Over a lifetime, living with this pollution also increases the likelihood of adult onset asthma, heart attacks, cancer and premature death. Cal State Fullerton’s 2008 study of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties cites 3,052 deaths and 2,300 hospital admissions attributed to just the portion of particulate matter that is in excess of the federal health-based air standards.

    The LA Times followed up on the story this week, interviewing PSR-LA’s Angela Johnson Meszaros and gaining attention from CBS Los Angeles and KABC radio, and even a related story by LA Daily News on a proposed apartment complex near the 101 and 405 freeways.

    See the excerpts, video, and audio below.

    Air board will start monitoring pollution next to SoCal freeways

    excerpt from the LA Times

    By Tony Barboza | August 25, 2013

    Under EPA requirements, monitors will be installed at four sites, providing data about what the 1 million Southern Californians who live within 300 feet of a freeway are breathing.

    Air quality regulators will begin monitoring pollution levels near major Southern California traffic corridors next year, for the first time providing data important to nearly 1 million Southern Californians who are at greater risk of respiratory illness because they live within 300 feet of a freeway.

    Under new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, air pollution monitors will be installed at four sites next to some of the region’s busiest freeways. Similar steps will occur in more than 100 big cities across the country.

    Scientists have linked air pollution from traffic to a long list of health problems, including asthma, heart disease, bronchitis and lung cancer.

    Though tens of millions of people nationwide live within a few hundred feet of a major road, monitoring stations established to measure common air pollutants typically have been placed away from such thoroughfares and other obvious sources of contamination. That’s because the monitors are intended to measure pollution across entire regions to determine if they are within health standards set by the state and federal government.

    Of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 35 air quality monitoring stations measuring pollutants across a four-county basin of 17 million people, none sits close to a major roadway. Environmental groups say that system underestimates exposure levels in many neighborhoods.

    The new monitoring is likely to have broad implications. If, as expected, the new data show higher pollution levels, environmental organizations and neighborhood activists almost certainly will call for local officials to take more aggressive steps to reduce emissions and curtail residential development near freeways.

    “We will do everything possible to make sure people who live near those roadways get the protections they’re entitled to,” said Angela Johnson Meszaros, an attorney for Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, one of several advocacy groups that sued the EPA last year to force it to require fine-particle pollution monitoring near Southern California freeways.

    Read the rest of the article at the LA Times

    Air Quality Monitors To Be Installed To Measure Vehicle Pollution On SoCal Freeways


    excerpt from CBS Los Angeles

    Starting in January, two of the four air pollution monitors will be installed along the 10 Freeway in the Inland Empire and along the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana. The monitoring devices will study the impacts of pollution on neighborhoods directly adjacent to freeways both in Los Angeles and nearly 100 major U.S. cities.

    A 2008 Cal State Fullerton study of L.A., Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties found 3,052 deaths and 2,300 hospital admissions attributed to vehicle exhaust pollution. Among the health risks identified are asthma, bronchitis, low birth weight, autism and lung and brain cancers.

    “What are we going to do about siting new homes and new schools next to freeways?” said Angela Johnson Meszaros, general counsel for Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles (PSRLA), one of the groups that sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the upcoming monitoring.

    “We sued, demanding that the EPA require those monitors so we can start making movement toward cleaning up the air,” said Meszaros.

    Read the rest at CBS Los Angeles

    Talk Radio 790 KABC Peter Tilden Interviews Angela Johnson Meszaros

    Listen to the 6-minute interview here, and read more about the the show at Late Night with Peter Tilden on on TalkRadio 790 KABC.

  • Jan 16 &17 – Symposium on Cumulative Impacts and Children’s Environmental Health

    When: Jan.16, 9-4:30 pm, Jan.17, 9-12:30 pm 
    Where: CAL EPA BUILDING                                                        1001 I ST, SACRAMENTO, CA
                    LIVE WEBCAST AVAILABLE
    RSVP:
     REGISTER HERE

    Topics covered will include:

    • Emerging Research Relevant to Cumulative Impacts and Children’s Environmental Health.   Moderator:  Mark Miller, UCSF PEHSU
    • Perspectives from Children’s Environmental Health Research Centers.   Moderator:  Lauren Zeise, OEHHA
    • Cumulative Metrics and Findings for Air Pollution.  Moderator: Melanie Marty, OEHHA
    • Future Directions:  How Do We Address Cumulative Impacts for Children?  Discussion. Moderator:  Amy D Kyle.  UC Berkeley

    FOR MORE INFORMATION:
    A more complete agenda and additional background and meeting  information is being posted at http://circle.berkeley.edu/Events2013Symposiumr.html

     Co-sponsors: University of California, Berkeley; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Office of Environmental Healh Hazard Assessment, University of California, San Francisco, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, United States Enviornmental Protection Agency

  • Freeway Expansion a Misguided Approach to Improving Air Quality

    How will expanding the I-710 freeway impact the health of nearby residents? In an Op-Ed published in EGP News, Dr. Felix L. Nuñez MD, MP, expresses his concern that freeway expansion will induce traffic and lead to negative health outcome in Bell Gardens, where he serves as the Chief Medical Officer of a community health center.

    Crossposted from EGP News

    Freeway Expansion a Misguided Approach to Improving Air Quality

    By Felix L. Nuñez, MD, MPH

    For decades, east and southeast communities living along the I-710 corridor, including Bell Gardens, where my community health center is located, have faced unrelenting exposure to hazardous particulate and noise pollution. Without question, improvements to the I-710 would benefit residents from Bell Gardens and from the other 17 communities that are located along the corridor. As a Family Physician, it was gratifying to read that the number one purpose of Caltrans’ proposal for the I-710 Corridor was to improve air quality and public health. However, I question the logic that implies that expanding the freeway to ten general purpose lanes and adding four lanes for trucks would achieve the purported goal of improving air quality. Rather than using $6 billion taxpayer dollars to expand this freeway to ten general purpose lanes and four lanes for trucks—as is being proposed with the I-710 Corridor Project—we should invest significantly in public transportation and speed the implementation of commercial and noncommercial zero-emission technologies. Such initiatives would reduce hazardous emissions and improve the quality of life for the residents and commuters of the corridor.

    Everyday, our health center sees how high levels of exposure to carbon based pollutants along the I-710 result in negative health outcomes. Increases in the incidence of asthma and other respiratory illnesses are the most visible—but by no means the only—harmful effect. Diseases of the cardiovascular system, neurologic system, and cancer have also been linked to exposure to air pollution. There is little doubt that compounding exposure over a lifetime increases the risk of developing pollution related disease. Despite knowledge of this threat to health, there are ten schools, six day care centers and five mobile home parks within one fourth of a mile from the I-710.  This proximity almost certainly increases the likelihood of exposure related illness.

    People who live in areas with high levels of pollution are often marginalized politically. Ninety one percent of the residents living in the I-710 corridor are people of color and often are medically indigent.

    Experience and research on induced traffic suggests that if we expand a roadway to relieve traffic, additional drivers will fill the new “non-congested” space, leading to an increase in emissions. Despite well-documented lessons from countless other freeway development projects, proponents of the I-710 freeway argue that new lanes will reduce congestion and truck idling and therefore improve air quality. Given that these projects often induce more traffic, expanding the freeways to accommodate more cars and trucks is not a long term solution to our transportation and infrastructure needs. We have an opportunity to  move commuters to modes of transportation that use less fossil fuel—let’s not miss it.

    The right approach to managing our freeways must move beyond the “bigger is better” mentality and instead incorporate a robust public transportation system and alternative fuel technologies. In its proposal for the 710 Corridor, Caltrans should analyze the impact of public transportation alternatives, such as constructing a light-rail line or Rapid Bus System along the freeway to increase mobility for residents of Southeast Los Angeles. To alleviate air contamination from the movement of goods from the ports, Caltrans should invest in the research and implementation of clean trucking technology. The corridor project should provide incentives for truckers, many of whom are financially strapped independent owner operators, to transition to zero or near zero emission technology.

    A Health Impact Assessment of the I-710 Corridor recommended that “the alternatives being considered should include more concrete proposals and commitments to improve public transit, walkability, and bikeability.”  Moreover, it recommends that public transit, walking, and biking infrastructure in the Gateway Cities be fully funded before funding is sought for the I-710 Corridor. These are sound and realistic recommendations. Unfortunately, Caltrans’ over 10,000 page Draft Environmental Impact Report does not include the Health Impact Assessment.

    Los Angeles’ massive network of freeways has caused our region to have the worst air quality in the nation. Transportation decision makers must take a lesson from regional history and develop a transportation system that contributes to healthier and stronger communities.

    Felix L. Nuñez, MD, MPH, is a board certified Family Physician and Chief Medical Officer of the Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles, a nonprofit federally qualified health center serving the communities of Southeast Los Angeles.

     

  • Op-Ed: Freeway Expansion Is a Pill for Poor Health

    Will expanding the I-710 freeway to ten general purpose lanes with an added freight corridor lead to cleaner air?  In an Op-Ed published on LAStreetsblog, physician Dr. Roberta Kato argues that expanding freeways is a misguided approach to improving air quality, and advocates instead for a community-driven proposal for the I-710 Corridor.

    Cross posted from LAStreetsblog and printed in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on August 23rd

     

    Op/Ed: Freeway Expansion Is a Pill for Poor Health

    by Dr. Roberta Kato

    Dr. Roberta Kato, MD, is a Pediatric Pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an Environmental Health Ambassador with Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA

    As a Pediatric Pulmonologist, I’m concerned that Caltrans proposed expansion of the I-710 Corridor— from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the Pomona Freeway—will negatively impact air quality in adjacent communities.  Our children will be healthier when fewer vehicles travel through the neighborhoods where they live, learn and play.

    Caltrans claims that expanding the 18-mile freeway is a path towards cleaner air.  The over 10,000 page Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) analyzes six different design proposals—called alternatives—for improving the I-710Corridor, including a no-build alternative.  Five of these alternatives propose expanding the I-710 to up to ten general purpose lanes, and several include an additional four lane freight corridor.

    A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the I-710 Corridor Project recommended a complete modeling and mitigation plan to address future air quality impacts attributable to the project.  This is essential; the community deserves protection in case Caltrans’ modeling—which suggests air quality will improve—turns out to be inaccurate.  Unfortunately, Caltrans excluded the HIA in the DEIR.

    Concerned community members have put forward their own “Alternative 7” as a viable strategy to improve air quality.  Instead of building new general purpose lanes, Alternative 7 would reduce emissions by investing in public transit and developing a zero emission freight corridor.  The freight corridor would be funded through a public private partnership with shipping companies, so that independent operators would not carry all the costs of converting to clean technology.  The community proposed option also includes river improvements, comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, expanded open space and community enhancements for the I-710 Corridor.

    Rather than build new lanes to accommodate additional vehicles, we need to address the root cause of freeway congestion: our over-dependence on trucks, cars and cheap foreign products.  Instead of expanding our freeway to import more cheap electronics and clothing from China, why can’t we invest the project’s six billion dollar budget in our local economy?  We could put residents of the Gateway Cities back to work growing food, operating buses and providing health care and education for our children.   And while trucking remains a major sector of our economy, we need to spur the development of the cleanest technology for moving goods with innovative transit systems.

    Freeway construction and expansion has led to a car dependent Los Angeles with among the worst air pollution in the nation.  Now we must choose our children’s health and envision a healthy environment for all communities.

     

  • August 8 – On Our Own Terms Community Festival in Long Beach

    Read the full Press Release for the event.

    During a public hearing in Long Beach, community members will voice concerns over the proposed freeway expansion—known as the I-710 Corridor Project—outside the hearing doors at their On Our Own Terms Community Festival.  The California Department of Public Transportation (CalTrans) contends that the freeway expansion of up to ten general purpose lanes and a dedicated freight corridor will improve air quality, but residents, air regulators, and public health experts are skeptical.

    In June 2012, the CalTrans released a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) assessing six alternatives for a proposed 18-mile freeway expansion along the I-710 Corridor.  The study area encompasses 17 cities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County including Bell, Bell Gardens, Boyle Heights, Carson, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy, Downey, East Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, Vernon, and Wilmington/San Pedro. The Draft EIR claims that the project will decrease air pollution along the study area, but community members and public health advocates believe that increasing the efficiency of public transit, walking and biking along the I-710 corridor are better solutions to the region’s congestion and air quality problems.

    “Experience and research on induced traffic suggests that if we expand a roadway to relieve traffic, more drivers will fill the new ‘non-congested’ space, leading to an increase in emissions. Efforts to improve air quality can go only so far if they seek to accommodate an increase in driving and trucking, and fail to incorporate an opportunity to move commuters to less fossil fuel intense modes of transportation,” said Dr. Felix Nuñez, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and a board certified Family Physician and Chief Medical Officer of the Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles.

    For more than 10 years, public health experts, community-based organizations and residents, all members of the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice (CEHAJ) have engaged in the I-710 Corridor Project to ensure that the project does not result harm the health of communities adjacent to the project.

    CEHAJ organized the On Our Own Terms Community Festival because they were frustrated that Caltrans was not taking community concerns seriously.  Although CEHAJ successfully advocated for a Health Impact Assessment to CEHAJ successfully advocated for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to be conducted on the I-710 Corridor project to better assess the project’s impact on health, Caltrans failed to include the analysis from the HIA in the over 10,000 page Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

    The On Our Own Terms Community Festival will highlight the community’s demands for the I-710 Corridor project—that Caltrans not expand the general purpose lanes and instead include provisions to encourage zero-emission truck technology and invest in public transit.  The event will include activities, such as a bike repair workshop, zumba lessons, yoga, and non-toxic cleaning product demonstration, to showcase a vision for a healthier community.

    “Often, families and community members are discouraged from participating in long public  hearings.  We organized the festival so that while community members wait to give testimony, they can celebrate an alternative vision for a healthy community,” said Isella Ramirez, Co-Director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and a member of CEHAJ.  During the community festival, residents will voice their concerns about freeway expansion at the I-710 Corridor Project public hearing. For more information on the public hearing, visit Metro’s website.

    CEHAJ members are also requesting an extension to the DEIR review period. “The Draft EIR document is thousands of pages long and the public has only 60 days to review the document.  As a busy physician, I’m concerned about the project, and this is not enough time for me to adequately review the data” said Dr. Roberta Kato, Pediatric Pulmonologist and member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.  “This project has been in development over the past decade and has the potential to affect the regional economy, communities, and public health for decades to come. Why are we rushing this critical period for public comment?”

    The Festival is organized by the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice (CEHAJ) and the Long Beach Building Healthy Communities Air Quality Work Group. CEHAJ member organizations include the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma (LBACA), East Yard, Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Coalition for Clean Air (CCA), and Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC).

  • August 7, 8, 9 – Testify at I-710 Public Hearing

    Every day, physicians and public health professionals see the effects of air pollution—in the forms of increased asthma, heart disease, and cancer –on their patients, and therefore must play an important role in this policy debate. While physicians can prescribe a much-needed medication to an asthma patient, by advocating for transportation decisions they can improve community health for all communities living alongside the I-710 corridor.

    Join PSR-LA in standing up for clean air. Here are three ways you can amplify your voice for public health along the I-710 corridor.

    1. Attend one of the official public hearings:

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Progress Park, 15500 Downey Ave., Paramount, CA 90723

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Silverado Park Community Center, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach, CA 90810

    Thursday, August 9, 2012
    4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Rosewood Park, 5600 Harbor St., Commerce, CA 90040

    2. Tell Caltrans:.

    Include the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This health study was completed in 2011, and if included in the final EIR, can identify more accurate health impacts resulting from the project, and help us demand mitigation measures to protect health.

    Do not add general purpose lanes. Additional freeway lanes will not address the region’s congestion and air quality issues. An induced traffic analysis that looks at future congestion and capacity issues should be conducted on all the alternatives presented.

    Make any potential freight corridor for zero-emissions vehicles only. If an alternative is selected, a freight corridor should be for zero-emissions vehicles only so the impact on public health can be minimized.

    3. Sign-up to be a PSR-LA Environmental Health Ambassador

    Contact Patty Ochoa at pochoa@psr-la.org, (213) 689-9170, ext. 102. We will send you more information about the I-710 Corridor project and other significant transformational projects impacting health.

    Together, we can ensure that all communities have access to safer, accessible transportation options and clean air.


  • Freeway

    Expanding Our Freeways to Improve Air Quality?

    The California Department of Transportation claims that cleaner air and improved safety are key motivations for its proposed 18-mile freeway expansion along the I-710 Corridor—from the Los Angeles and Long Beach Port Complex to the SR-60 Freeway.

    PSR-LA also wants cleaner air and improved safety, but expanding the I-710 freeway will allow for more cars and trucks to travel, ultimately creating more congestion in the area and impacting air quality. Instead, the project should focus on alternatives that reduce car dependence and truck traffic. The only expansion that would improve community health would be to develop a zero-emission freight corridor. Currently, an average of over 1,000 diesel trucks per hour[1] travel on the Long Beach Freeway through the communities of Compton, Paramount, Lynwood, South Gate, Cudahy, Bell, Bell Gardens, Vernon, Commerce and East Los Angeles — all low-income communities where a majority of residents are people of color.

    Truck traffic has been associated with a number of health problems. For example:

    • Several studies show that women living in close proximity to heavily trafficked freeways with elevated pollution levels are more likely to give birth to low-birth-weight or premature infants. [2]
    • Higher community exposures to fine particulate air pollution is associated with premature mortality and increased incidence of lung cancer [3]
    • Every year, 19,000 premature deaths can be attributed to California’s air pollution.[4]

    For almost a decade, PSR-LA has been part of the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice (CEHAJ), which has been working to improve air quality, community health and overall quality of life for residents living in the I-710 corridor in Southern California. CEHAJ strives to achieve environmental justice and ensure the right of community residents to be part of the decision making process. Since the beginning of the I-710 corridor expansion project, this coalition has been working to ensure that the goods movement integrates key public health and community concerns while at the same time supporting initiatives and policies that promote and include zero-emissions technology. Check out CEHAJ’s I-710 Corridor Project Fact Sheet (pdf) on the I-710 project.

    CEHAJ successfully advocated for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to be conducted on the I-710 Corridor project to better assess the project’s impact on health. However, the over 10,000 page Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR),  which was released in June, fails to include the analysis from the HIA.   Jonathan Heller, Director and Co-founder of Health Impact Partners presented a case study of this HIA experience and suggested that decision makers were closed to HIA’s findings: “Without a commitment to equity and democracy on the part of those controlling the HIA process, and without power in the hands of those who support these values, HIA can become another technocratic tool that supports those in power who are interested in maintaining the status quo.”

    Caltrans is required to provide a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), for this proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act. The over 10,000 page report analyzes six potential designs, called alternatives, including a “no-build” option. All but the “no build” alternative will result in a total of ten general purpose lanes on the freeway–five lanes in each direction. Some of the design alternatives also include an additional four truck lanes for either general use trucks or for zero emission trucks.

    The South Coast Air Basin has the worst air quality in the region and  fails to meet federal air standards. PSR-LA is dubious that additional freeway lanes will resolve the threat to public health. The DEIR assumes that additional freeway lanes will increase speed, decrease congestion and therefore reduce traffic emissions. PSR-LA is concerned that the added lanes will actually induce more driving, which will ultimately result in an equally or more congested—with more vehicles filling more lanes—freeway. Several traffic studies have found that in time, highway and road expansion induces demand for driving; in other words, within a few years the traffic lanes added to relieve the congestion, will be filled with new cars, increasing congestion and total traffic emissions. How soon will an expanded I-710 freeway reach capacity, and how many drivers will re-route to take advantage of a larger freeway? Unfortunately, the DEIR does not include an induced traffic analysis.

    The air quality chapter of the DEIR analysis (pdf) also assumes that congestion in the corridor will decrease and that vehicle and truck technology will be cleaner in the future. Within this analysis, all alternatives show a reduction in particulate matter (PM) emissions from exhaust, nitrogen oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), reactive organic gases (ROG), and sulfur dioxide (SO2), when compared to the 2008 baseline and Alternative 1. However, some alternatives show increases in these pollutants in certain areas along the I-710. As public health advocates we need to question an analysis that increases vehicle traffic, but reduces air emissions.

    On LAstreetsblog, Damien Newton points out the flawed reasoning that freeway expansion will create a healthier environment: “The justification for this $5 billion project that would add seventy two miles of highway lanes is that it will improve air quality by creating more lanes for cars to drive in, safety by increasing lane width and travel speeds, and reduce congestion by encouraging more cars to use the already congested corridor.”

    Take Action!

    Every day, physicians and public health professionals see the effects of air pollution—in the forms of increased asthma, heart disease, and cancer –on their patients, and therefore must play an important role in this policy debate. While physicians can prescribe a much-needed medication to an asthma patient, by advocating for transportation decisions they can improve community health for all communities living alongside the I-710 corridor,

    Join PSR-LA in standing up for clean air. Here are three ways you can take action.

    1. Attend one of the official public hearings:

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Progress Park, 15500 Downey Ave., Paramount, CA 90723

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Silverado Park Community Center, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach, CA 90810

    Thursday, August 9, 2012
    4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Rosewood Park, 5600 Harbor St., Commerce, CA 90040

    2. Tell Caltrans:

    Include the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This health study was completed in 2011, and if included in the final EIR, can identify more accurate health impacts resulting from the project, and help us demand mitigation measures to protect health.

    Do not add general purpose lanes. Additional freeway lanes will not address the region’s congestion and air quality issues. An induced traffic analysis that looks at future congestion and capacity issues should be conducted on all the alternatives presented.

    Make any potential freight corridor for zero-emissions vehicles only. If an alternative is selected, a freight corridor should be for zero-emissions vehicles only so the impact on public health can be minimized.

    3. Sign-up to be a PSR-LA Environmental Health Ambassador

    Contact Patty Ochoa at pochoa@psr-la.org, (213) 689-9170, ext. 102. We will send you more information about the I-710 Corridor project and other significant transportation projects impacting health.

    Together, we can ensure that all communities have access to safer, accessible transportation options and clean air.

    [1] See various studies:
    –Kathleen H. Kozawa, et al. Near-road air pollution impacts of goods movement in communities adjacent to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Atmospheric Environment, 2009.
    –California Department of Transportation, Traffic Data Branch, 2006. Annual Average. Daily Truck Traffic. http://traffic-counts.dot.ca.gov/truck2006final.pdf.
    –Zhu, Y., et. al. Study of ultrafine particles near a major highway with heavy-duty diesel traffic. Atmospheric Environment, 2002.
    [2] Wilhelm M, Ritz B. Residential Proximity to Traffic and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Los Angeles County, California, 1994–1996.
    [3] Dickey, Jefferson H., MD., “Air Pollution and Primary Care Medicine.” Physicians for Social Responsibility. Viewed 2011.
    [4] National Environmental Trust. Toxic Beginnings: A lifetime of chemical exposure in the first year. Washington, DC. 2001.


     

  • Manchanda Jackson

    Op-Ed: Touchdown Pass or Lost Yardage—What Will It Be AEG?

    Dr. Rishi Manchanda (left) and Dr. Richard Jackson (right).

    How will a new football stadium in Downtown Los Angeles impact the health of the surrounding neighborhoods?  In an Op/Ed published on Streetsblog Los Angeles, PSR-LA Board Member Dr. Richard Jackson and physician leader Dr. Rishi Manchanda express concerns that the proposed stadium may increase noise and air pollution, unfairly displace low-income residents and pose new threats to public safety. They urge AEG and the City of Los Angeles to build the greenest possible stadium that will improve the health of a vibrant community.

    Cross-posted from LA Streetsblog:

    Monday, July 30, 2012

    Op/Ed: Touchdown Pass or Lost Yardage—What Will It Be AEG?
    by Richard Jackson and Rishi Manchanda

    As places celebrating athletic discipline and active lives, professional sports stadiums should energize physical activity and empower health. Unfortunately, the sports-entertainment giant Anshutz Entertainment Group’s (AEG)proposal for a football stadium and new Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles will hurt surrounding communities. The proposed stadium will permanently change the landscape–and harm the health–of downtown Los Angeles.

    As physicians, we know our patients’ health is shaped more by where and how they live than by what pills they take. The residents near the proposed development already suffer from hypertension, diabetes and obesity at substantially higher rates than in other parts of the City and County.

    In response to worries about the potential negative impacts of this project, community groups worked with local residents and a reputed consulting firm, Health Impact Partners, to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of AEG’s proposed Farmers’ Field downtown development.

    The study reveals that the Farmers Field project has the very real potential to increase air and noise pollution, to unfairly displace low income residents, and to pose public safety threats to long term residents of the communities of South Park, Pico Union and Central City areas of downtown. Fortunately, the assessment contains community and evidence-based recommendations to reduce these threats to health.

    AEG promised the world that Farmer’s Field will be “the most environmentally responsible sports and entertainment district in the world.” Thus far, those promises appear empty, including a promise that the stadium will be carbon-neutral and that between 18.5 and 27 percent of patrons would arrive on transit, foot or bike.

    Unfortunately, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared by AEG and required under state law does not cite any local examples of active transportation shares anywhere near this ratio: Rose Bowl’s share is 5% and Dodger Stadium’s is approximately 2%. The DEIR does not analyze the use of transit to STAPLES Center, which is immediately adjacent to the proposed stadium. Further, many of the mitigation measures described in the DEIR are inadequate, unenforceable, or improperly deferred until after the close of the environmental review process.

    When we plan developments around just automobiles, we are casting bad health policy in permanent concrete. Los Angelenos deserve to see clear, specific plans for how AEG intends to significantly increase public transit ridership and decrease car trips. These measures are required by the California Environmental Quality Act and by the state legislature under SB 292. AEG could look to the Pac Bell Stadium in San Francisco as a successful model for increasing rates of active transportation. In response to local residents’ and businesses’ concerns about traffic and parking, San Francisco required the development and approval of a Transportation Management Plan. The plan included the construction and promotion of existing and new transit services and an ambitious marketing campaign called “Your Ticket Home,” which provided incentives to utilize transit and walking. San Francisco is rightly proud of Pac Bell Stadium; it is frequently sold out. It has 40,800 seats, with only 5,000 parking spaces. With 50 percent of fans arriving a block from the stadium via light rail and a regional commuter train, the parking lots are rarely full to capacity.

    Doesn’t Los Angeles also deserve the benefits of excellent transit access to our sports stadium? AEG must commit to measures that make taking public transit to stadium events easy, safe and affordable.

    With this investment in a new Convention Center and downtown stadium, the City has a chance to make a long overdue pass and score a touchdown that benefits the health and livelihood of all Angelenos. But the current plans for Farmers Field will lead to lost yardage when it comes to our city’s health and a future of dreary, congested asphalt.

    If AEG takes steps to reduce the number of car trips to events, limit air pollution, and preserve affordable housing, the new stadium will encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles in the surrounding neighborhoods and for all event patrons. A compact stadium design with space for parks, community gardens and farmers’ markets could truly integrate the new development into an active neighborhood.

    AEG should give Los Angeles a Stadium and a public asset that all Los Angelenos can be proud of, especially the local residents. Los Angeles fans deserve a winning team, the greenest stadium possible, and a truly healthy and vibrant community.

    Richard Jackson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA and recent host of the PBS series, Designing Healthy Communities. He is also a Board Member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.

    Rishi Manchanda is the founder of HealthBegins, an Assistant Professor at Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science, and was formerly the Director of Social Medicine and Health Equity at St Johns Well Child and Family Centers.

  • July 31 – Healthcare Voices for Clean Air, Member Briefing and Lunch

    Join an important PSR-LA briefing and lunch, “Healthcare Voices for Clean Air” on Tuesday, July 31st, from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at the Page Conference Room at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Join a stimulating conversation on the unique role healthcare professionals can play in advocating for clean air for their patients.

    As part of the landmark USC Children’s Health Study, for the past 20 years scientists have followed thousands of children to determine how breathing different types and levels of air pollutants affect their lungs.  Now that the children are older, the USC scientists are analyzing other adverse health outcomes.  PSR-LA is actively engaged with other environmental health organizations in a campaign to mitigate air pollution from expansion of the 710 freeway.

    At this training, Professor Andrea Hricko, M.P.H., will describe the Children’s Health Study findings and will discuss new information on “traffic-related air pollution” (TRAP) and its potential impacts on children.  Angelo Logan, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, will share updates on the campaign to prevent expansion of the 710 freeway and mitigate pollution.

    Please RSVP to Ariana at amilman@psr-la.org or call (213) 689-9170

     

  • RTPSCS3

    Lawsuit Seeks Justice for 1.2 million Residents Living Near SoCal Freeways


    Cross-posted from NRDCPress contact: Serena Ingre, singre@nrdc.org, 415-875-6155, mobile: 703-296-0702. Martha Dina Argüello, marguello@psr-la.org, (213) 689-9170.

    Lawsuit Seeks Justice for 1.2 million Residents Living Near SoCal Freeways

    Lack of air monitors fails to capture full extent of preventable pollution

    LOS ANGELES (January 3, 2012) – More than a million people in the Los Angeles region are exposed to undisclosed, unhealthy levels of air pollution every day, according to a lawsuit filed today by Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Communities for a Better Environment.

    Pollution produced by the region’s millions of diesel and gasoline powered vehicles cause a heavy health burden for everyone living in Southern California, but evidence shows that it harms families and individuals living within approximately 300 yard of LA’s heavily-trafficked roadways even more. Although these families and other advocates have repeatedly asked for monitors to be placed along the roadways to determine exactly how much pollution comes from these roadways, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has refused to do so.

    “How will the EPA protect us against air pollution if they won’t even measure how much is in the air?” asked Adrian Martinez, staff attorney with NRDC. “On many days, smog blankets our region as a result of the millions of tailpipes on our highways. People living near these freeways are at the greatest risk, yet lack adequate protection and the much needed air monitoring stations in these very obvious places with foul air. Regulators are actively avoiding this problem instead of addressing it, and that needs to stop.”

    The federal lawsuit contends EPA violated the law by allowing the South Coast Air Quality Management District to ignore high levels of air pollution breathed by those living near freeways. NRDC and local advocates have sought to ensure air monitors are placed along the region’s highways to better inform the local air district about the hazardous levels of particulate air pollution, and to arm them with the information necessary to take action to protect the region’s residents.

    “The science on this is clear,” said Martha Dina Arguello, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. People who breathe this polluted air suffer the staggering health impacts of air pollution at every phase of life. We know that women who live near heavy traffic roadways have a greater risk of having a low birth weight child and the child is more likely to develop asthma. Over a lifetime, living with this pollution also increases the likelihood of adult onset asthma, heart attacks, cancer and premature death. The evidence strongly suggests that people—especially children and seniors—who live near these roadways are exposed to much higher levels of pollution and therefore much more vulnerable to the impacts of pollution. It’s unconscionable that the EPA refuses to collect the information necessary to protect people’s health,” Arguello added.

    Without monitors, regulators can ignore whether air quality for the more than 1.2 million people who live near high-traffic roadways despite the Clean Air Act’s mandate that all residents breathe healthy air. This litigation seeks to ensure that the EPA follows the letter.

    “We’ve provided the EPA the studies that show that the air quality along freeways can be really bad—much worse than almost everywhere else. But they refuse to monitor our air. Why?” asked Mark Lopez of Communities for a Better Environment. “Monitors would allow all of us to know if there is a problem. If not—great! But if there is, we can work together to address it. We just want our children and families to be safe. Why won’t they collect the information needed to make sure that we’re safe?” added Lopez.

     

  • California Needs Clean Cars for Cleaner Air!

    Nothing is more important than freeing ourselves from oil—for public health, economic, environmental, and national security reasons. California relies on petroleum fuels for 97% of our transportation fuel, which holds us hostage to volatile oil prices. In fact, spikes in oil prices have preceded the last four recessions. Meanwhile, Californians spend $82 million every day on gasoline and diesel fuel, and with worldwide demand for oil steadily increasing, the price has nowhere to go but up.

    If we don’t raise vehicle standards, we will continue to be addicted to oil.  The solution is to get smarter about how much oil we use.

    Sign the petition online, or download the form (pdf) and send it back to us.

    Advanced Clean Cars Will Reduce Dangerous Air Pollutants, and Improve California’s Air Quality and Economy

    The Health of Women and Children

    Despite progress made in recent decades, California is still home to some of the dirtiest air in the nation—and passenger cars and trucks are a leading cause. Our children and seniors are especially vulnerable.

    1. Several studies show that women living in close proximity to heavily trafficked freeways with elevated pollution levels are more likely to give birth to low-birth-weight or premature infants.
    2. Children living in the most polluted communities in Southern California suffer reduced lung function and reduced lung growth, increased school absences, asthma exacerbations, and new-onset asthma.
    3. A child born in the California South Coast area potentially exceeds a lifetime acceptable cancer risk after only 12 days of exposure to air pollution in that region. Children in the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley exceed a lifetime acceptable risk in between 19 and 23 days.
    4. Every year, 19,000 premature deaths can be attributed to California’s air pollution.
    5. Recent research conducted by the RAND Corporation found that hospital care related to elevated pollution levels in California cost nearly $200 million from 2005 to 2007. We owe it to our children and future generations to provide clean, healthy air.

    Reduce CO2 Pollution and Help Mitigate the Worst Effects of Climate Change

    Passenger cars and light trucks represent 40% of California’s greenhouse gas pollution.

    Jobs and Investment

    California can reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and expand jobs and economic prosperity at the same time. California has led the nation in cleantech investment.

    Cleaner, more efficient cars and light trucks will save California drivers billions in gasoline costs every year. Stringent clean car standards will ensure that consumers have many options for driving greener cars and light trucks—including super-efficient cars that go 50 miles or more to the gallon, hybrids that use even less gasoline, plug-in hybrids that switch between gasoline and electricity, and all-electric cars that use no gasoline at all. Fueling a car with electricity costs a fraction of filling a tank with gasoline.

    Recent history confirms this fact. Since late 2006, California has led the nation in cleantech investment; California-based cleantech companies have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in venture financing, dramatically more than any other state.

    New data shows that employment in California’s green economy grew 36% from 1995 to 2008 while total jobs in California expanded only 13%. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell 1%, but green jobs continued to grow 5%. Many of the companies that are building clean, green cars of the future, such as Tesla Motors, are based in California; their suppliers of high-tech components, such as Quantum Technologies and Better Place, are also based here. These companies hold the promise of providing important jobs for working families across the state.

    Four Different Standards Make Up The Clean Cars Program

    1. Vehicle Global Warming Standards (LEV III-GHG): This program will make sure new cars and light trucks produce fewer emissions that contribute to global warming. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2017.)
    2. Low Emission Vehicle Program (LEV III-Criteria Pollutant): This program will make sure new cars and light trucks produce fewer harmful emissions that contribute to smog and hurt public health. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2014.)
    3. Zero Emission Vehicle Program (ZEV): This program will make sure that the newest, gasoline-free, ultraclean vehicle technologies – such as electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars – are brought to California. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2015.)
    4. Clean Fuels Outlet: This program will make sure we have the infrastructure in place to support clean, alternative fuel cars.

    References

    1. The California Energy Commission: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/petroleum/index.html.
    2. CIMB World Market: http://research.cibcwm.com/economic_public/download/soct08.pdf
    3. California Energy Commission: http://www.energy.ca.gov/reports/100-03-019F.PDF.
    4. Wilhelm M, Ritz B. Residential Proximity to Traffic and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Los Angeles County, California, 1994–1996.
    5. Environmental Health Perspectives. February 2003; 111 (2 ).
    6. Kuenzli N et al. Breathless in Los Angeles: the exhausting search for clean air. Am J of Public Health. September 2003; 93(9): 1494-1499.
    7. National Environmental Trust. Toxic Beginnings: A lifetime of chemical exposure in the first year. Washington, DC. 2001.
    8. California Air Resources Board: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/health/qhe/qhe.htm.
    9. Climate Change FAQ: http://climatechange.ca.gov/publications/faqs.html.
    10. http://cleantech.com/news/5755/cleantech-thriving-AB32-data
    11. http://www.next10.org/next10/publications/green_jobs.html
  • October 10 — Rally to Kick Coal and Oil Out of Los Angeles

    10/10/10: Communities from all over Los Angeles Unite to Break Our City’s Dependence on Coal and Oil

    (Los Angeles, CA) – On October 10, people across the planet will join together for the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, the world’s largest day of action to fight the climate crisis.  Globally, there are 3,427 events scheduled in 165 countries.  In Los Angeles, hundreds of community members from all parts of the city will rally at City Hall to break our city’s reliance on coal and oil.

    Coal-fired power plants in Arizona and Utah deliver dirty, dangerous, and increasingly expensive power to Los Angeles.  Locally, oil refineries poison the Los Angeles air, harming local residents while making climate change worse. These same coal and oil companies take the money we pay for our power and use it to fight public health, safety and environmental standards at City Hall, the State Capitol, and in Washington D.C.  Community members will gather on 10/10/10 to collectively say “Enough is enough.”

    Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and others are supporting the 10/10/10 Global Work Party coordinated by the international climate campaign 350.org and 10:10 Global. Photos and video from thousands of simultaneous events across the planet will also be available for the media at 350.org/media.

    Who: Hundreds of residents from all parts of Los Angeles, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Green LA Coalition, LANE, KPFK Community Advisory Board, Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, California Student Sustainability Coalition, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and more.

    What: Attendees will rally as part of a 7-mile street closure to hear speakers, take action with participating organizations, and take a group photo with a large banner in front of Los Angeles City Hall that reads “LA SAYS NO TO COAL AND OIL”.

    Where: 1st Street, between Main and N. Spring St, Downtown Los Angeles. http://bit.ly/aGIUOZ

    When: 12:30pm-2pm

    Visuals: Hundreds will join together for a photo in front of Los Angeles City Hall with a large banner that reads “LA SAYS NO TO COAL AND OIL”.

    For more information on the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, please visit the 350.org media room: 350.org/media.  For more information about CicLaVia, visit http://ciclavia.wordpress.com/

  • Stop Toxic Emissions from Locomotives and Railyards

    stop_toxic_emissionsSend a letter to the CA Air Resources Board

    Diesel emissions are known toxic air contaminants and  emissions from locomotives and rail yard equipment have not been effectively regulated. Breathing in diesel exhaust contributes to cancer, asthma, heart disease, premature birth, increased school absence, and other health problems. Act now to protect public health!

    Health Risk Assessments (HRA) on 18 rail yards in California have demonstrated that living near a rail yard, a large diesel emission source, poses significant public health risk resulting from exposure to diesel particulate matter (PM). The Air Resource Board identified diesel particulate matter (PM) as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer and other adverse health problems, including respiratory illnesses and increased risk of heart disease. The HRAs found that in total, these rail yards are responsible for 210 tons of diesel pollution a year and put over 3 million people at risk of cancer. Five of these rail yards pose an excessive individual cancer risk of 500-2,500 chances per million, well beyond the level EPA considers.

    Send a letter now

  • PSR-LA Working With the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice

    CEHAJThe Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice (CEHAJ) has been engaged in the community stakeholder proceedings of the I-710 Long Beach Freeway Corridor (local and state officials propose to expand the freeway) since 2001. CEHAJ, a coalition of community-based, health, environmental and environmental justice organizations dedicated to advancing demands for health, clean air, and improved quality of life along the I-710 corridor, became involved in the 710 project in order to ensure community members’ voices and demands are being heard. Demands which include improving air quality for residents residing along the 710 corridor. The stretch of freeway where the expansion project is being proposed passes through 15 cities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County and is located close to numerous residences, schools, day care and senior centers and hospitals.

    The majority low-income and communities of color that live along the I-710 corridor are already burdened with health disparities without the added pollution a freeway expansion might bring.

    PSR-LA’s role as a public health advocate is instrumental to making this campaign a successful one.

    PSR-LA is promoting a practical approach to measuring health effects of the I-710 project. As part of our role as a technical assistance provider role in CEHAJ, we are helping bring accurate and effective public health science to the campaign by partnering with Human Impact Partners (HIP).
    The practical approach used, called Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is based on four values: Democracy– allowing people to participate in the development and implementation of policies, programs or projects that may impact their lives; Equity– assessing the distribution of impacts from a proposal on the whole population, with a particular reference to how the proposal will affect vulnerable people (in terms of age, gender, ethnic background and socio-economic status); Sustainable development– considering both short and long term impacts, along with obvious and less obvious impacts; and Ethical use of evidence– identifying  and using the best available quantitative and qualitative evidence.

    To find out more about how get involved in this campaign, as well as PSR-LA’s role in promoting healthy and sustainable development, contact Environment and Health Coordinator, Kathy Attar at 213-689-9170 x108.

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