Truck Routes Cause Contamination in California Homes

From: Robina Suwol
Date: 23 Nov 2003
Time: 22:09:04
Remote Name:


Study: Diesel exhaust from 18-wheel semi-trucks transporting goods to and from the Port of Oakland, Calif., is harming the health of West Oakland residents, according to a report released Saturday.

The report, issued by the Pacific Institute, found that indoor air in some West Oakland homes is five times more toxic than in other parts of the city, resulting in an increased risk of asthma, heart disease and cancer. "The results we found are frightening," said Meena Palaniappan, a senior research associate with the institute (Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 16).

For a three-day period, researchers measured the amount of black carbon in the air in two homes located near busy West Oakland intersections and compared them with the levels at a control site. Average pollution levels in the two homes were five times greater than at a control site farther away from the truck routes.

The study found that trucks traveling through West Oakland neighborhoods emit an estimated 90 tons of diesel pollution per year -- over twice the amount of diesel pollution per person than in neighboring Alameda County. The study said a port expansion could result in 22,000 truck trips per day -- double current traffic -- by 2010.

The institute proposed remedies including the installation of electrical hookups for trucks waiting to enter the port to prevent engine idling, financial incentives to get the dirtiest trucks off the road and moving truck-related businesses away from homes.

Truckers said the services they need, such as overnight parking and mechanical shops, are located in West Oakland and the road system dictates they travel through certain West Oakland neighborhoods.

Industry officials said they are asking for financial help from the city and port authority to relocate services away from the affected neighborhoods.

"We know there are solutions," said Oakland Vice Mayor Nancy Nadel. "We cannot tolerate people who might be facing five times more diesel soot in their homes. That is not the kind of environmental equality we want in our community"

(Kristin Bender, Oakland Tribune, Nov. 16).

A full copy of the report can be found at

Last changed: March 14, 2006