To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pasadena's Public Health Department and the 710 (plan F-7) Tunnel route

From Carla Riggs (Click on the attachment to see the report)
Subject: Health Risk Assessment of 710
Date: Aug 29, 2012 1:15 PM
  Kind of hard to swallow (no pun intended!) when you read this, and realize just how bad the environment may become here.


A report from Weston DeWalt on Pasadena's Public Health Department and the 710 (plan F-7) Tunnel route.

On - 27 August - at the Main Library/Pasadena - there was a celebration of the 120th anniversary of the City of Pasadena's Public Health Department (PHD) during which Mayor Bogaard and the Public Health Department Director, Dr. Eric Walsh addressed a crowd of 100+ and discussed the just released 2012 Pasadena/Altadena Quality of Life Index. (See attachment.) Among those attending were Councilmembers Jacque Robinson and Terry Tornek, representatives from various City departments, City Manager Michael Beck and representatives from various community institutions and organizations, including Huntington Hospital whose very physical plant would be threatened if the decision were made to build out the F-7 tunnel now under consideration by Metro/Caltrans.

Mayor Bogaard pointed out that the PHD was one of only three City sponsored public health departments in California, was highly complimentary of the department's many accomplishments over the years and pointed out that the City was going to take more into account the impact upon public health when considering actions the City might take.

You will note that on p.26 of the Quality of Life Index it is reported that: 

Some of the worst contributors to air pollution are fuel emissions from cars, trucks, trains, buses, and stationary sources such as refineries and factories. At the Port of Los Angeles for example, many of the engines that support ships, trucks, trains, and cargo equipment at the port are fueled by diesel, and consequently pollute the air with diesel exhaust. Research has shown that diesel exhaust is responsible for an estimated 70% of cancer risk due to air pollution, and is further associated with asthma. Low-income and minority residents tend to be disproportionately affected by poor air quality, as many live along rail corridors, freeways, factories, and refineries where air quality is at its worst. And though effects are greatest near the ports, the pollution emitted can be measured throughout the Los Angeles County Basin and beyond.

This awareness on the part of the PHD is most encouraging.

At the conclusion of the celebration I introduced myself to Dr. Walsh with whom I have recently exchanged emails about the hope of Pasadena residents that his department might be tasked by City Council to assess the risks that could come to Pasadena residents in the event that any 710 extension routes might be built out within the limits of Pasadena. Upon introducing myself, I reminded Dr. Walsh of our exchange about possible 710 extensions, and he readily offered that "we've got you on that" and said his department was simply waiting to see if a Pasadena route would be among those to be included in the Caltrans/Metro final list of route candidates.

As public health risk assessment is included in the mandate of the PHD, I remain hopeful that the City - should a Pasadena route be among the finalist - will task the PHD to conduct or cause to be conducted a comprehensive and objective consideration of the public health hazards that would come to Pasadena both during the construction and after the completion of any 710 extension route within the limits of our City. I am encouraged by Dr. Walsh's dedication to the PHD objectives. 

Weston DeWalt