|Dr. John Froines giving his presentation on the|
health effects caused by diesel.
(Photo by Anabell Romero)
A doctor and professor at UCLA revealed new research on the health effects caused by diesel particulates Wednesday night. Community members, environmentalist, health experts and government agencies all gathered at the Banning Senior Citizen’s Center to listen to Dr. John Froines speak about his shocking findings.
He started off by stating that 50-60 years ago America’s views on pollution were completely different and very limited.
“It was thought that air pollution was the result of backyard barbecues,” said Froines.
As more research on air pollution has been conducted studies show that, “the underlying basis for health effects are from airborne particulate matter (PM) and vapor co-pollutants,” said Froines.
There has been speculation that Southern California’s air quality is gradually improving, but according to Froines, that is false.
“There have been no improvements,” he said, “It’s worse!” Some of the health illnesses he listed as a result of PM, which is found in diesel fuel are:
- Problems of lung growth in children
- Atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries. It occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques.
- Lung and possibly bladder cancer
- Uptake and chronic inflammatory effects in the Central Nervous System (CNS)
Other illnesses he mentioned were Alzheimer, as well as the increased chances of premature births.
He said these particulates are as tiny as the size of a virus. People exposed to PM are not only inhaling it but the invisible poison also travels through human pores he said.
“Particulates can travel to the brain, not only the lungs and heart,” he added. He continued to emphasize on pollution being a, “very complex issue.”
He said, “for diseases and illnesses to occur there needs to be chemistry at the outset and downstream with proteins and DNA.”
The Solution to pollution
The solution is finding something other than diesel said Froines.
Now that the research is there to prove how harmful it is to be exposed to high levels of diesel the federal government needs to regulate the amount of emissions that are released in the air, he said.
After Froines’ talk a panel of health experts and government agencies discussed some of the work they’re doing to develop a solution for this fatal problem.
A representative from the air division at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Kim Hoang, said that, “everything at the federal level takes years to develop…five to 10 years from now we will see all those studies being considered.”
The public was not very happy to hear that.
A Long Beach community resident demanded that government agencies do something about holding the ports, railroad companies, trucking companies and other polluters accountable for the damage they’re doing to the health of residents in nearby neighborhoods.
|Carmen Rivera from Long Beach sharing her experience of|
living in neighborhood highly impacted by air-pollution.
(Photo by Anabell Romero)
“The ports want to do all these new projects, like the railyard, behind our homes,” said Long Beach resident Carmen Rivera. “You the agencies have the power to help us and say no to their absurd projects.”
There was also discussion about zero-emission technology available to replace current diesel fueled machines and trucks.
“Zero-emission freight technology is the solution and we need to pursue them,” said Dr. Joseph Lyou from South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The meeting ended with public comments and community members demanding that the government do something about this now and not five or 10 years from now.
It is not fair for residents to continue fighting with industry about these issues, if there’s probable risk then it needs to be banned, said an attendee at the meeting.