Update – We ran this story on July 5, but the complete newspaper article was not available at that time. Global Community Monitor published it a couple of days ago, along with a link to the complete Galena Park monitoring report, and we are happy to be able to share it in its entirety.
Fine Particulate Matter in Truck Exhaust CausesHigh Rates of Asthma, Lung Cancer & Heart Disease
Citizens of Galena Park may be exposed to unhealthy levels of particulate matter pollution from 5,000 diesel trucks entering and exiting Houston’s port every day according to a new report
by Air Alliance Houston and Global Community Monitor based on a year-long monitoring project in this community of 10,000 people located on the Houston Ship Channel.
Major new findings of the report include:
Significantly, the highest single site of fine particulate matter on average was at the Early Head Start center, which is a facility used by low income families, infants and toddlers, and pregnant women. According to the EPA, children are among those most likely to be affected by exposure to particle pollution
Some levels of diesel soot measure in Galena Park are high enough to be associated with an excess risk of cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalizations on the day of exposure
Some levels of diesel soot measure in Galena Park are high enough to be associated with an excess risk of cardiovascular mortality two and three-days post exposure.
The report points to the urgent need to reduce exposure to diesel exhaust in Galena Park. Air Alliance Houston will present its report before the newly elected mayor and city council of Galena Park on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.
Air Alliance Houston has been active in public health and environmental advocacy in Galena Park since 2011. Through a community health survey, mapping workshop, and now a community air monitoring project, Air Alliance Houston has brought attention to local concerns about traffic, pollution, and a lack of opportunity in the small community.
“Particulate matter pollution can vary widely over short distances,” says Adrian Shelley, Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston. “We don’t believe that nearby government monitors are telling the whole story. There’s been a lot of work in recent years cleaning up the area around a few key monitors. This only benefits people who happen to live close to those monitors.”
Belinda Vasquez, Galena Park Community Outreach Director for Air Alliance Houston, says that residents in Galena Park worry about pollution’s impact on their health. “People are concerned,” she says, “About heavy traffic congestion, pollution, and a lack of local health care options.”