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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Polution Coverage Gone Nuts

In Europe and in cities throughout the world, today is Car Free Day.

Hmmmmm... I wonder why?

Could it be because of these recent stories: Study Links Freeways to Asthma Risk or Vehicle exhaust a health risk.

Or maybe it has to do with the focus of this weeks LA Weekly.

Clear and Present Danger: What You Can't See Can Kill You

Los Angeles' skies sure look better than they did decades ago. Less lung-stinging ozone hangs over downtown and the deep bourbon hues of summertime skies are fainter than ever before. But looks are deceiving. A new threat haunts the air we breathe-- particles tinier than a virus; so small that, in the diesel-belching ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, more than a million of them fit in a marble-sized chunk of air. These ultrafine particles become lodged in our lungs and hearts and are the culprit behind growing cancer rates. Some 9,600 people will die this year in California because of a smog-related disease. This amounts to a public-health emergency. Why, then, are only a handful or scientists, doctors and public officials responding to the challenge?

They present an entire issue on the topic. Not such a little deal anymore, now is it?


Anonymous noel park said:

Thank you.

September 22, 2005 8:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

We actually like it that way!

When we talk about paying more in taxes for public transportation, republicans and dems go nuts! When we try to put in rail lines to create more public transit options and relieve traffic congestion, communities file lawsuits and halt projects. Westsiders are notorious for the big gas-guzzling SUVs. When developers try to build projects where people can live AND work (Playa Vista), enviros and communities protest, stall development with lawsuits and pressure electeds to halt all efforts.

Public officials respond to the voting public's selfish desires and refusal to sacrifice anything for the common good.

If we get cancer from the air we breath, let's not make some lame-ass excuse and blame it on a lack of response from more scientists, doctors and public officials! Let's take some responsibility for creating the bad air we breath.

September 22, 2005 9:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Mayor Frank
pretty early posts today 5am, thanks for burning the candle to keep us informed and thinking.

September 22, 2005 9:48 AM  

Anonymous noel park said:

The particulate issue is almost entirely about diesel emissions. While private citizens certainly need to take ownership of their contributions to air pollution, very few of them drive diesel vehicles.

25% of the toxic, carcinogenic, diesel emissions in the South Coast Air Basin are direct results of the operations of the two ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

These public agencies are under the direct control of public officials. These public officials include the respective Mayors, City Councils, and city employee port staffs of the two cities. These public officials are responsible for the toxic emissions created by the public agencies under their supervision. They too need to step up to their responsibilities.

The front line communities of Wilmington, San Pedro and west Long Beach have the highest risk of cancer from toxic air pollution, and the highest exposure to all of the dozens of additional identified health impacts of diesel exhaust, in the South Coast Air Basin. The South Coast Air Basin is, in turn, the dirtiest in the USA.

September 22, 2005 11:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

We don't drive diesels, but we sure as hell buy the products delivered by them and we demand them at the lowest costs possible.

Officials won't step in because increased regulation will raise shipping rates and ultimately rates on products. People will NOT want costs of products to rise and will join Chambers of Commerce, anti-tax organizations and labor groups to oppose such plans.

Again, let's take our fair share of responsibility.

If it were really that easy, any one of these officials would jump to take the credit.

September 22, 2005 1:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sure, blame it on citizen Joe and Jane consumer, right? Go back and read the posted article before you make comments like that. Notice the part about LOBBYISTS hired by large corporations, getting in the way of reforms.

Most citizens are completely oblivious to the severity of this issue because it is effectively kept out of the corporate media.

Just because it's not a simple issue doesn't mean that industry and elected officials should get to walk away from it. So far, no one has stepped up to the plate, because it is a political hot potato. Even Lowenthawl's efforts do not go anywhere near far enough.

September 22, 2005 2:25 PM  

Anonymous noel park said:

If you read the article about Dr. Peters, you will see that the Union of Concerned Scientists has recently estimated the yearly health costs resulting from diesel pollution in the South Coast Air Basin at $20.9 BILLION.

As the ports create 25% of these emissions, the annual health care cost of their pollution is $2.5 BILLION. These numbers were essentially confirmed by the analysis of the California Air Resources Board as part of the Port of Los Angeles "No Net Increase" task force. Please note the premature deaths which the article cites as well.

The public is subsidizing these cheap prices, and the related export of manufacturing jobs, to the tune of billions of dollars a year, the the deaths thousands of citizens, and the sickness of many tens of thousands more.

I believe that, when the public understands these terrifying facts, they will demand that the polluters pay to clean up their mess, and will not be concerned that the price of a pair of tennis shoes at Wal Mart goes up a dime or a quarter.

September 22, 2005 2:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Now, here is where Antonio will make a difference. He put Freeman at the Port and Marie Nichols at DWP-both are enviros and will start to steer these huge depts so they are more in line with peoples needs. Also, at least the crook, William Burke pulled out. He'll have to keep his greedy hands at the coastal commission and the AQMD.

September 22, 2005 4:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The real problem has to do with more and more people chasing the limited resources on the planet and producing waste products as a result. The real solution is to decrease the number of people so that the pollution levels will decrease accordingly. I haven't heard of the groups yet that have volunteered to leave this world so pollution can be reduced so I am starting by submitting Noel Park to do his bit and leave this congested poison filled atmosphere permanently. It will have the by product of reducing the number of gas guzzeling tertra-ethyl lead burning vintage corvettes as a beneficial by product. EAT DIESEL AND DIE NOEL!

September 22, 2005 4:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Noel, I saw your performance at the marathon Harbor Commission meeting last week. It looks like you're going to be taking your lumps with this commission. It appears that none of the commissioners are buying your holier than thou tree hugging bullshit nor do they seem to want to cater to you and your PCAC rabble. I think John P said it best, we want more business and more traffic in San Pedro. What I don't understand is why you didn't get in John's face when he said it.

September 22, 2005 4:50 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

John P made a fool out of himself all on his own -- no one needed to get into his face. As a matter of fact, the entire commission ignored him completely. It was quite amusing, actually. Not the usual puffery he's accustomed to.

On the other hand, commissioner Freeman attended the PCAC meeting and offered his support and compliments to the committee.

What planet are you guys from -- you seem a little out of touch with reality.

September 22, 2005 9:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I hope the people who post to this thread read the LA Weekly articles that are part of this original post. They contain extremely compelling and disturbing information, offered by renowned scientists, regarding the health effects and invasive capacity of fine particulate air pollution.

Anyone who posts sarcastic comments on this thread has obviously not read these extremely sobering articles. They are important and relavent to all of us. Please read them.

Thank you, Mayor Frank, for making this information available on this site.


September 22, 2005 10:06 PM  

Anonymous noel park said:


Pretty well says it all.

September 23, 2005 8:32 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


I'm not being sarcastic. I'm serious when I say all of us are to blame by putting our personal interests over the health of our environment.

The facts are sobering. But unless people feel that they're directly at-risk (because most believe that cancer happens to other people) or their kids are at risk, the issue won't budge.

I applaud Mayor Frank for posting, but I just think we need to share the responsibility for inaction.

September 23, 2005 10:45 AM  

Anonymous noel park said:

On May 27, 1998, the Acting Chairman of the Scientific Review Panel of the California Air Resources Board sent a letter to the Chairman of that Board which said, in part, the following:

"I am pleased to forward to you the Scientific Review Panel's (SRP/Panel) Findings (enclosure) for the Proposed Identification of Diesel Exhaust as a Toxic Air Contaminant Report as adopted unanimously at the Panel's April 22, 1998 meeting."

"The data, developed and reviewed by OEHHA and ARB, in the scientific risk assessment on exposure to diesel exhaust (Part A) and its health effects (Part B), are extensive and scientifically sound. The SRP notes the report documents the fact that diesel exhaust includes over 40 substances listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants and by the ARB as toxic air contaminants."

"Development of this report began in 1989, and this compound has the most human epidemiological studies (over 30) than any of the previous 21 toxic air contaminant reports the Panel has reviewed. These studies have investigated the relationship between occupational diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer, and the epidemiological evidence indicates exposure to diesel exhaust increases the risk of lung cancer. It is noted that in 1990 the State of California, pursuant to Proposition 65, identified diesel exhaust as a chemical "known to the State to cause cancer."

"There are a number of adverse long-term noncancer effects associated with exposure to diesel exhaust. These effects include chronic bronchitis, inflammation of lung tissue, thickening of the alveolar walls, immunological allergic reactions, and airway constriction. As new quantitative data emerge from research on adverse noncancer effects from diesel exhaust, the Reference Exposure Level may require adjustment.

September 23, 2005 3:45 PM  

Anonymous noel park said:

As is documented above, the State of California has known since 1990 that diesel exhaust causes cancer. It is extremely difficult to believe that the two ports did not know it as well.

Our Homeowners Coalition first became aware of this through press reports in 2000. We immediately wrote to the Port of Los Angeles and asked them to take immediate steps to protect our health. The response has been a steady increase in toxic diesel exhaust. Since 1998, when the above letter was written, the level of diesesl exhaust has more than doubled.

We have worked this issue virtually every day since our first letter to the Port in November of 2000, including trying to raise public awareness by every possible means, appealing to our elected representatives and three successive Harbor Commissions, and one of the biggest successful lawsuits in the history of the California Enviromental Quality Act.

Even so, the pollution increases every day. The result has been some token projects to control emissions, which have been so inadequate in the face of the immensity of the problem as to barely slow the rate of increase, and oceans of press releases trying to lull the public into a false sense of security that the problem is being fixed. It is not being fixed.

Our reward fot this is that the defenders of the status quo, posting on this blog, have asked us to shut up, to move away and, more recently, to die.

Diesel exhaust is a very indiscriminate weapon. Anyone who lives in San Pedro, Wilmington, west Long Beach, along the 710 corridor, or anywhere else the "goods movement industry" spews its pollution, has an substantial exposure to dying from his or her exposure to diesel exhaust. I may die, but I am not going to move away, and I most certainly am not going to shut up. Furthermore, many thousands will die with me it this situation is not fixed. Those who wish death upon their neighbors may wish to consider their own fates.

"EAT DIESEL AND DIE" is not a new slogan on this blog. We have seen it many times in the last few months. Given that, despite all of their spin to the contrary, the ports have known about these health risks for over 15 years, and have chosen to steadily increase the risk anyway, makes me think that this would make a good motto for the ports.

I can picture signs over the doors of the headquarters of the two ports. "EAT DIESEL AND DIE".

Or how about on the letterheads?

The Port of Los Angeles


It has sort of a nice ring to it, don't you think.

I sure hope that MAV has the leadership and managerial skills to straighten this out. He has known about it since his first Mayoral race in 2001. Otherwise, a lot of people are going to "EAT DIESEL AND DIE", and a lot more are going to get sick.

September 23, 2005 4:24 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

As usual Noel. You are taking a statement out of context just as you do your statistics and spinning it to fit your perveted world view. The epithet "EAT DIESEL AND DIE" was directed to you and I think you would be surprised to know that there are thousands of us living in San Pedro that would love to see a sign erected over the Gaffey street off ramp that said "EAT DEISEL AND DIE NOEL". Since we won't get our wish or the sign maybe you could just heed the advice and EAT DIESEL AND DIE.

September 23, 2005 5:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Kathleen, you and your friend Noel seem to only want to quote a statistic that serves your own personal cause. Why aren't you quoting the statistics that the world health organization keeps regarding the rising incidents of both physical and mental illness as a result of crowding people into close proximity in all the major cities of the world? Doesn't this fit your long range real estate goals or would it put a crimp in your plan to develop port property into high priced rich folk real estate? You know you could push for a law in California that wouldn't allow more than 3 people to live on an acre. Thereby not only serving your want to cut pollution but you could also then affect the rise in communicable disease and the mental health disorders that come from overcrowding. All you need to do is to convince half of the population to leave their homes and move to the unpopulated arid areas of the planet. It might be easier if you led the way and do as Noel should do and just EAT DIESEL AND DIE!

September 23, 2005 5:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Here is an excerpt from the LA Weekly article "THE AIR THAT WE BREATHE":

"What 16 million people in the L.A. basin can’t see is sickening and killing them at rates only now becoming known. Every year, 9,600 people statewide die from cancer and respiratory problems caused by air pollution, most of them in Southern California, says state toxicologist Bart Ostro. Reports released last month by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) show just how dangerous it can be to breathe the air in parts of Los Angeles County where these minute particles are fouling people’s bodies and becoming lodged in their lungs and hearts. THE HIGHEST CANCER RATES IN THE COUNTY ARE FOUND NEAR THE TWIN PORTS OF LOS ANGELES AND LONG BEACH, WHERE AS MANY AS ONE OF EVERY 200 RESIDENTS IS EXPECTED TO GET A POLLUTION-RELATED CANCER DURING THEIR LIFETIME."

That sounds pretty scary to me. With all the public hearings the Ports have, you would think they would have one on this very serious issue.

September 23, 2005 8:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

To 5:11

Your idea to have a sign erected over the Gaffey Street offramp is a good one, but it should read:


September 23, 2005 8:24 PM  

Anonymous Noel Park said:

Statistics taken out of context? Read the articles in the Weekly folks.

This is what we ae up against MAV. What about it?

September 24, 2005 9:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


"Most legislators know that, according to the California Air Resources Board, more than 70 percent of the cancer risk faced by Southern Californians comes solely from diesel exhaust, which is prevalent near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and along the trucking corridors east of the Alameda Railway."


"..The Chamber of Commerce, in concert with the railroad, trucking, automobile, and oil and gas companies have lavished elected officials with cash and spent even more on lobbying efforts that have derailed public-health initiatives. From 1998 to 2002, the energy industry alone spent $16.6 million on statewide candidates in California, according to the Institute on Money in State Politics."


"Emissions from the shipping, rail and trucking industries are more damaging to the public’s health in Southern California than anywhere else."


"And in a 2004 study, the Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, found that because of diesel emissions the rates of premature mortality, chronic bronchitis, heart disease and asthma in the South Coast air districts accounted for half of the statewide illnesses, at an annual public-health cost of $10 billion. Against such data, the industries that drive Southern California’s economy have spared no expense protecting their bottom line. Oil companies and related industry associations spent more than $50 million lobbying Sacramento from 1995 to 2002, according to the secretary of state."

September 24, 2005 1:35 PM  

Anonymous Dick Riordan said:

Actually there's just as much pollution in Chicago and it's reduced it's industrial/transportation infrastructure in the last decade.

I think that it's folks not getting enough exercise and sitting in their cars driving on congested freeways were pollution is right in their faces and they're breathing it every day.

I second that notion of Noel Park trying to spin words around, taking a page out of my book, I see.

Noel, Eat CO2 and Die, you pus-head

September 24, 2005 10:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Tragically, EVERYONE is eating diesel and dying. It's happening every day, as you all blog away, and with every breath you take. Good luck trying to separate anyone out for it. If you believe in karma, then those spewing the hateful words (witnessed here)aimed at those trying to clean up the air, will find themselves the first affected. One can only hope.

September 25, 2005 9:18 AM  

Anonymous dust said:

I believe your article has a great deal of potential and I found reading it a very pleasurable experience.

July 21, 2009 12:56 PM  

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