New Research Provides Evidence Of Coal Dust Escaping From Trains

EarthFix · Oregon Public Broadcasting
November 4, 2013

SEATTLE — New research results suggest coal trains are contributing to the Northwest’s air pollution.

That’s according to the preliminary results of a University of Washington atmospheric and environmental scientist’s crowdfunded study.

“We did find an increase in large particles in the air when coal trains pass by and it does suggest that it’s coal dust and it’s consistent with coal dust from those trains,” said the UW scientist, Dan Jaffe. He released his preliminary research results Monday evening.

Jaffe gathered air quality samples at two sites next to train tracks in the Northwest. He tested 450 trains as they passed – roughly 10 percent of which were carrying coal.

One of the sites is in the Columbia River Gorge, the other is in the Blue Ridge neighborhood of north Seattle, on Puget Sound. The monitoring devices were placed within 30 meters from the train tracks.

Coal dust contains arsenic, mercury and other contaminants but little is known about how dust from trains could impact people who live nearby. Public health officials in Washington have raised concerns about coal dust and called for more monitoring.

Read more…

About coalfreegorge

Coal is rearing its head again the Columbia Gorge. The new threat comes in the form of proposals to export coal from Wyoming to coal-fired power plants in China. The coal would be transported via uncovered rail cars through the Columbia Gorge. Many Columbia Gorge Communities in Oregon and Washington support a coal-free world, beginning at home, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, recognizing the importance of people determining what materials are allowable for transport through their communities and watersheds. This blog exists to communicate and advocate for the public interest in issues pertaining to coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, providing an online outlet for honest discussion and information. To inform and unite local citizens about the damaging effects of coal transport through our communities. To endorse positive and considerate dialogue with the aim of mutual understanding among diverse parties. CLEAN AIR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES NO COAL EXPORTS STOP COAL IN ITS TRACKS
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