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Localized Vehicle Emissions Impacts

I just thought that I would pass this along to let you know about Councilwoman Debbie Ortega’s efforts on the I-70 issue. A note of thanks to her sure wouldn’t hurt. Second, thanks to Elizabeth Evans, Frances Frainaguirre and Ruben Espinosa, for their thoughtful letters to the editor in the Denver Post this morning. Thanks also to those of you who wrote but whose letters weren’t published. The fact that the Post held the letters for today, the biggest circulation day for the newspaper, indicates that they consider this an important issue. I would once again urge you to write letters to the Greater Park Hill News at newspaper@greaterparkhill.org and the North Denver Tribune at News@NorthDenvertribune.com

Debbie Ortega’s email and response is below. You can find the article Dr. Winer’s refers to here.

Again, thanks to everyone for your efforts.

Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2013 7:59 AM

Subject: Fw: Fwd: Roadside air monitoring study adjacent to highways & impact to residents/schools within 400 kl

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Deborah Ortega
To: Mike Harris
Sent: Saturday, July 6, 2013 3:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: Roadside air monitoring study adjacent to highways & impact to residents/schools within 400 kl

Mike,
Here is the response and attachment from professor Arthur Winer from UCLA on the roadside air quality study.

Thanks!

Deborah “Debbie” Ortega
Councilwoman At Large
492 City & County Building
1437 Bannock Street
Denver, CO 80202
720 337-7713

Begin forwarded message:

From: Arthur Winer
Date: July 5, 2013, 6:42:01 PM MDT
To: ‘Deborah Ortega’
Cc: ‘Mike Harris’
Subject: RE: Roadside air monitoring study adjacent to highways & impact to residents/schools within 400 kl

Dear Deborah Ortega:

Thank you for your interest in our research on the localized impacts of vehicle emissions from major roadways. I have attached an article written in an accessible form describing some of our concerns about near-roadway exposure. There is a growing body of peer-reviewed journal articles concerning the elevated pollutant levels downwind of major roadways and their exposure implications. I can send you references to some of these articles should you want them.

I am an exposure assessment scientist not an epidemiologist so I do not generally comment on health effects per se. I will say there is strong evidence for both morbidity and mortality associated with diesel exhaust particulate from heavy duty diesel trucks (HDDT).

You will note from this article that California passed a law a decade ago to ban new schools from being built within 500 feet of freeways. I strongly support this regulation based on research conducted by my group and other researchers.

You will also note our concern about environmental justice issues for disproportionate exposures of low income, high poverty residents along major highways or in communities impacted by HDDT goods movement.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best regards,

Arthur Winer, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

From: Deborah Ortega
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2013 3:05 PM
To:
Cc: Mike Harris
Subject: Roadside air monitoring study adjacent to highways & impact to residents/schools within 400 kl

Hi Dr. Winer,
I am a Citywide Denver City Councilwoman and I was referred to you by former EPA air quality specialist David Gemmill, who I met on a flight to San Diego in June. He shared with me that you did a study on Roadside Air Monitoring adjacent to highways and the serious concern about the health impacts from the NO2. PM2.5 – particulate matter Pb – fine particulates and Ar – pm10 from combustion products. He stated this study showed 500 times background and has deadly affects to the lungs of people who live near highways and are exposed to these contaminants over time. How can I obtain a copy of your study?

Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in the middle of an EIS on the I-70 corridor, immediately north of Downtown Denver. They are not proposing to relocate a school which will be 70 ft from the highway once the width is doubled. They think putting a “lid” over the highway for a two block stretch near the school will be sufficient to address this impact. David Gemmill vehemently disagrees.

Additionally, when I served previously as the District Council person, I was involved in the Asarco lawsuit, which forced this lead smelter company to clean up heavy metals (lead, cadmium and arsenic); but this only affected residential properties.

This highway project will disturb and cause airborne heavy metal contaminants throughout the five year construction period, thus compromising the health of the children who attend Swansea Elementary School and the low income residents which abut the I-70 highway.

I am looking for evidence that will justify the need for CDOT to move the school to a different location and to do an air quality study prior to any construction and for them to monitor air quality during and after the construction of this project.

Any help you can lend in providing a copy of this study and any other helpful information will be greatly appreciated!

I have copied DU Law School Professor, Mike Harris who has been assisting the residents and is looking out for their interests.

Thank you so much for your attention to this request. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. I can best be reached on my cell phone at 303 587-6620.

Deborah “Debbie” Ortega
Councilwoman At Large
492 City & County Building
1437 Bannock Street
Denver, CO 80202
720 337-7713