Diesel Exhaust Exposure in the Dumawish

A collaborative, community-based study showing a disproportionate impact of diesel exhaust exposure in Georgetown and South Park.

October 2013 - New research conducted by the University of Washington in collaboration with Puget Sound Sage indicates that residents of South Park and Georgetown are likely exposed to higher levels of diesel exhaust than residents of the Beacon Hill and Queen Anne. Within the two Duwamish Valley neighborhoods, pollution levels vary, even across small areas, and residents near busy roads and industrial areas face higher levels of diesel exhaust pollution.

The higher air pollution levels due were documented in the report, which measured diesel exhaust in the port-adjacent neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown. A large volume of traffic travels through these South Seattle communities due to nearby highways, industry, train routes, and the Port of Seattle.

 Public Health Concerns

In our 2009 community surveys, Puget Sound Sage found that sixty percent of neighborhood residents believed pollution from commercial trucks affected the health of their families.  Long-term occupational exposures to high concentrations of diesel exhaust have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular health problems as well as cancer.

Sage organizers, along with the University of Washington researchers, monitored air quality in both Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods, as well as Queen Anne, Beacon Hill, and Downtown Seattle in order to have a comparison of diesel exhaust in the surrounding areas. Residents of Georgetown and South Park participated in the study by hosting air home monitors in their back yards and around the neighborhood. The organizers also taught fellow community members about diesel exhaust and its effects on air quality through public meetings and home visits.

The report was completed in the summer of 2013. It found disproportionate impact of diesel exhaust on the neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park compared to the measured sites in Queen Anne, Beacon Hill, and Downtown Seattle.

For the full report, please visit duwamishdiesel.org.