Diesel Fumes From Ports Contribute to Increased Incidence of Cancer
Diesel fumes from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach cause more than 50 cases of cancer per million residents who live within 15 miles of the ports, according to a draft of a study released Tuesday by the California Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles Times reports. Two million people live in the area.
The study, the first to focus exclusively on port-related air pollution, examined particulate matter in diesel emissions that can exacerbate lung and cardiovascular disease and have been linked to increased risk for lung cancer. The study estimated that the port pollution annually accounts for:
- 29 premature deaths of people ages 30 and older;
- 750 asthma attacks;
- 6,600 lost work days; and
- 35,000 days of minor restricted activities.
Under state law, stationary facilities such as industrial sites must post warnings if the estimated cancer incidence from pollution exceeds 10 cases per million people. In addition, polluters in Los Angeles who are estimated to cause more than 25 cases of cancer per million residents must draft detailed plans to address the problem.
State and local efforts to reduce pollution at the ports have been "handcuffed" because much of the diesel pollution comes from ships and other cargo equipment that are not stationary and face fewer regulations.
The Air Resources Board is expected to begin reviewing possible rules to address emissions, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has named a new Board of Harbor Commissioners who is expected to set guidelines for curbing the emissions on Wednesday (Schoch, Los Angeles Times, 10/5). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.