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Roseville Rail Yard Air Quality Study Questions and Answers

Why did the Air Resources Board conduct the Roseville Rail Yard Air Quality Study?

The Placer County Air Pollution Control District requested the California Air Resources Board (ARB) study on behalf of Placer county residents to learn the levels of diesel emissions from the J.R. Davis Rail Yard and their relative impact. The District requested the study because of residents' concerns and because the ARB had identified "diesel particulate matter" as a toxic air contaminant.


Why is ARB concerned about diesel particulate matter?

Diesel engines emit a complex mixture of air pollutants, composed of gaseous and solid material. The visible emissions in diesel exhaust are known as particulate matter or PM, which includes carbon particles or "soot". In 1998, ARB identified diesel PM as a toxic air contaminant. Health risks from diesel PM are highest in areas of concentrated emissions, such as near ports, rail yards or freeways.


What are the results of the study?

The study results indicate high concentrations of "diesel particulate matter" - which can cause cancer - in an area surrounding the rail yard. The level of cancer risk associated with diesel emissions from the rail yard depends on length of exposure and proximity to the yard.


What is being done to address these study results?

The District is committed to working with Union Pacific to reduce emissions at the rail yard. The Air Resources Board is also involved in this effort. At this time we do not have a binding agreement with UP in place for an emissions reduction plan, but we hope to have one soon.


What can I do?

There are no practical personal protective measures recommended for healthy individuals. Individuals with unique sensitivities such as chronic lung disease or asthma may consider indoor air filtering units such as those described on the Air Resources Board web site.