02-22-2019  9:03 am      •     
By The Skanner News
Published: 07 May 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality $466,276 to research better ways to monitor diesel exhaust and help protect Portland’s most vulnerable citizens.

To conduct this research, ODEQ is partnering with local colleges, community groups and government agencies. Portland State University and Reed College will head research projects seeking better ways to measure diesel emissions in specific Portland locations. Neighbors for Clean Air, Multnomah County, and the City of Portland are active partners in the two-year study, supporting community outreach objectives and providing mapping and demographic information.

The overarching goal is to better understand health impacts on certain demographic groups, particularly low-income residents, communities of color, youth and seniors.

Diesel emissions contain a complex mixture of very small particles and toxic pollutants that can enter the lungs and bloodstream, thus breathing diesel exhaust is harmful in a host of ways. Exhaust contains some of the same pollutants as can be found in other sources of pollution, like the “black carbon” in smoke from wood stoves.

One part of this project will assess the relative contributions of diesel sources to particulate matter by continuously monitoring black carbon, particle size distribution and gaseous pollutants to distinguish between diesel sources and other PM sources. Another part involves producing source profiles for targeted diesel emissions sources and source attribution.

Other specific study goals include:

1. Identifying specific areas of vulnerability in the Portland metro region

2. Assessing the emissions contributions to particulate levels in those areas

3. Building the public knowledge base about air pollution and how it can contribute to chronic health diseases in Portland’s underserved communities.

The ODEQ diesel monitoring research is funded through March, 2020. For more about ODEQ’s diesel program visit  http://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/programs/Pages/Diesel.aspx.

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