Cumberland County Physicians Resolution: The Air We Breathe

The following August 2005 public letter was signed by over three-quarters of Cumberland County physicians.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY PHYSICIANS RESOLUTION: THE AIR WE BREATHE

In 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act that required each state to achieve air quality standards as set by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) by 1977. Although improvement has been achieved nationwide with respect to air quality, Cumberland County does not comply with current standards for ozone and fine particulate matter.

The American Lung Association (ALA) ranks Cumberland Country’s atmosphere as the 24th most polluted area in the United States, comparable to New York City.*

Due to the concentration of truck traffic in Cumberland County, fine particulate pollution from diesel exhaust is much higher than in most places and is astronomical along the “Miracle Mile” in Middlesex Township.

Diesel exhaust is a mixture of particulate matter, gases and chemical compounds containing 40 known environmental contaminants. Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) consists largely of carbon (soot) to which other chemical substances bind. As we breathe, these tiny particles carrying toxic substances enter our lungs and are deposited in the deepest recesses of our lung tissue. Some of these toxic substances can cause cancer or other adverse health effects.

Breathing diesel emissions containing these fine particles can result in exacerbation of lung disease, i.e. asthma and emphysema, and can precipitate heart attacks. Populations at particular risk include infants, children and the elderly with pre-existing heart and lung disease. In addition, diesel exhaust is known to contain three carcinogens that cause lung and bladder cancer. According to ALA reports, scientists estimate that 50,000 to 100,000 people die each year as a result of air pollution. Studies have shown that children exposed to diesel exhaust exhibit abnormal lung development which appears to be permanent.

The construction of additional distribution parks will undoubtedly bring more diesel trucks into the area and will have public health implications. Carlisle already is a “hot spot” of diesel pollution.

We acknowledge that the trucking industry is vital to our way of life and to the economy. We have benefited from it as much as anyone and do not advocate eliminating the trucking industry. However, we also believe that proper and insightful environmental planning is essential for our community’s future and its health and well-being.

As the American Lung Association slogan states:

“When you can’t breathe, nothing else really matters!”

*Based on 24-hour PM 2.5 measurements.

The foregoing is authored by Dr. Phil Carey and agreed to by:

Adam C. Abram, MD

Ali Ahmed, MD

David P. Albright, MD

Edwin A. Aquino, MD

Daniel M. Armesto, MD

Ramesh Arora , MD

Shiv S. Aggarwal, MD

William Bachinsky, MD

Bruce. O Bailey, MD

David C. Baker, MD

Michael J. Banach, MD

Sherma B. Bharucha, MD

Gary L. Blacksmith, Jr., MD

Richard N. Blutstein, MD

Todd A. Bokelman, MD

T. Alex Boshnakov, MD

Joseph Brazel, MD

D. Shaun Bryant, MD

Howard W. Burkett, DPM

David Calcagno, MD

Joseph J. Campbell, MD

Philip D. Carey, MD

John Caruso, DO

David P. Chernicoff, DP

Howard R. Cohen, MD

Johnson G. Coyle, MD

J. Edward Dagen, MD

Faith Daggs, MD

Michael Daniels, MD

H. R. Davis, MD

Lisa M. Davis, MD

Richard L. Davis, MD

William E. Demuth, Jr., MD

George W. Ehly, MD

David B. Evans, MD

Katarzyna Ferraro , MD

Thomas S. Filip, MD

Thomas J. Green, MD

L. Greer, DPM

Darryl Guistwite, DO

Kenneth R. Guistwite, MD

J. L. Hardesty, MD

Richard C. Harker, MD

Jeffrey H. Harris, MD

David L. Hartzell, MD

Creston C. Herold, Jr., MD

Daniel P. Hely, MD

Webb S. Hersperger, MD

Louis Hieb MD

Mohammad Ismail, MD

Russell R. Janson, MD

William K. Jenkins, DDS

James R. Johnston, III, MD

Marion N. Johnston, MD

John C. Jurgenson, MD

Sharad K. Khetarpal MD

Serge Kolev, MD

Donald J. Kovacs, MD

Stephen J. Krebs, MD

Robert Lasek, MD

Gregory L. Lewis, MD

John G. Loeffler, MD

Wallace A. Longton, MD

Michael E. Lupinacci, MD

Russell Macaluso, MD

Ronald G. Mangan, DMD

Robert E. Martin, MD

David S. Masland, MD

Allan Mira, MD

George K. Moffitt, Jr., MD

Barry Moore, MD

Thomas C. O’Malley, MD

Louis Myers MD

Michael J. Oplinger, MD

George P. Ong, MD

Roger H. Ostdahl, MD

Maria Papoutsis, MD

William J. Phelan, MD

Mark Pinker, DPM

Joseph A. Pion, DO

Larry S. Rankin, MD

Kent R. Rentschler, DMD

Keith S. Rice, MD

Carol Robison, DO

Noelle, Rotondo, DO

Ronald Schlansky, MD

William L. Shelley, MD

Michael F. Smith, MD

A. Sposic, MD

Bruce H. Spivak, DMD

L. M. Stankovic, MD

Drew Stoken, MD

Leon Sweer, MD

David I. Thompson, MD

J. B. Tocks, MD

Jay A. Townsend, MD

E. Violago, MD

Timothy P. Walsh MD

David L. Wampler, MD

William J. West, Sr., MD

Willis W. Willard, MD

Raymond J. Wiss, MD

Bradford J. Wood, MD

James A. Yates, MD

James P. Yeager, MD

John P. Zornosa, M

DEP to Consider Truck Idling Limits for State: Patriot News

May 6, 2007: The Patriot News

Agency to Consider Truck Idling Limits for State (Archive Fee Required)

by Charles Thompson

Excerpt:

Air-quality experts at the state Department of Environmental Protection are recommending a statewide rule that would limit idling by trucks and the diesel exhaust they generate. The proposed rule would attack the common trucking industry practice in which drivers keep their trucks running during mandatory 10-hour rest stops to heat or air condition their cabs and to power television, Internet access and other comforts.

Area’s Latest Ranking Doesn’t Surprise Asthma Sufferers: Patriot News

May 3, 2007: Patriot News

Wind Blows Polluted Air Our Way: Area’s latest ranking doesn’t surprise asthma sufferers (Archive Fee Required)

by Ford Turner

Blow up a big balloon, then try to keep your mouth in place and let all the air shoot back into your lungs.

That is what an asthma attack feels like, Carol Crupi says. And as she learned this week, asthma sufferers in the midstate might be more susceptible to attacks than those who live elsewhere.

A report from the American Lung Association ranked Cumberland and Dauphin counties among the 25 worst places in the nation in terms of short-term particle air pollution.

Trucking Firm Co-Sponsors Effort to Clean Air: Patriot News

Trucking Firm Co-Sponsors Effort to Clean Air

June 25th, 2006: The Patriot News

Read Full Article

By Matt Miller

Excerpt: “It might seem odd that a trucking company and an environmental group would be allies. Yet, Middlesex Twp.-based Keen Transport and the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania are on the same page regarding cleaning up the local atmosphere.”

State’s Portable Lab Tests County Pollution: Patriot News

June 14th, 2006: The Patriot News

Read Full Article (Archive Fee Required)

By Matt Miller

Excerpt: “The sky was blue, with a few high, fluffy clouds. The sun shone brightly, comfortably warming the knot of people gathered in the parking lot of Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

But the Rev. Jennifer McKenna, president of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania, wasn’t deceived.

She knew there was trouble in the air — health-endangering gases and particles spewing from the exhausts of the thousands of trucks.

[…]McKenna applauded yesterday’s arrival of a portable laboratory truck the state Department of Environmental Protection will use to test the air and show local residents what they’re breathing.”

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