Project at a Glance

Title: Impacts of Train and Port Pollution and Air Toxics on Respiratory Symptoms and ED Visits within Vunerable Communities in Southern California

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Su, Jason

Contractor: UC Berkeley

Contract Number: 20RD016

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Environmental Justice

Research Summary:

Regulations and technological upgrades have resulted in a steady decline in criteria air pollutants and air toxics in California. However, the distribution of goods from their entry ports to the rest of the United States involves diesel-powered vehicles, locomotives and equipment, creating significant exposures and health impacts in the vulnerable communities along the distribution routes. The vulnerable communities suffer from exposure not only to criteria pollutants like NOX and PM2.5, but also to air toxics from those mobile sources as well as sources of air toxics from industry processing. In this proposed new contract, UCB and ResMed will study: 1) the respiratory health impacts of NOX and PM2.5 emissions from locomotive and port craft operations; 2) the respiratory health effects of air toxics from point, area and mobile sources; and 3) the relative significance of individual pollutants when integrated in a single modeling framework, on daily rescue medication use within the vulnerable communities in Southern California (SoCal) for the years 2016-2019. The impacts of air pollution on annual Emergency Department (ED) visits within the vulnerable communities will also be investigated and compared with the impacts estimated on daily rescue medication use. Further, the sources contributing to the air pollution from NOX and PM2.5 and air toxics emissions in the vulnerable communities will be identified. The results of this new project will significantly compliment ongoing work funded by CARB. This study will help CARB quantify the dose-response functions of criteria pollutants and air toxics with health outcomes and identify sources of impact for the vulnerable communities. The study will also provide the information needed to include respiratory disease exacerbations as a new endpoint for CARB's health analysis in regulatory processes. The result will support CARB's regulations and policies to reduce emissions from rail and port operations from goods movement that particularly impact environmental justice (EJ) communities and will promote health equity in research.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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