Study: Oakland air has high cancer risk

March 20, 2008 8:16:42 AM PDT
Three million Bay Area residents could be at increased risk for cancer due to diesel exhaust from trucks, ships and trains in West Oakland. Those findings come from a new study by the California Air Resources Board.

If you live in Oakland your chance of cancer goes up, according to the study. Oakland residents are surrounded by the Port of Oakland, the Union Pacific rail yard and the freeways.

It is the highways that are the biggest problem, because of all the diesel trucks that use them. Many of those trucks come to the Port of Oakland which is considered a major contributor to the problem.

The exposure to diesel particulate matter is especially dangerous to children and the elderly. The study estimates that the air creates about 1,200 additional cancers per million people.

Local leaders are hoping the study will motivate the port to take responsibility for the health problems in the area. The port said it is committed to making changes. It has already replaced more then 300 diesel engines in their equipment since 1999.

The Port of Oakland responded to the study with this statement:

"Air pollution comes from many sources in the Bay Area, and we are committed to doing our part to help reduce diesel pollution from port related activities."

The port's goal is to cut the health risk in the area down by 85%, but it doesn't think it can hit that goal until 2020.