Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0000037
Received: 9/18/2013 6:10:30 PM
Commenter: Cynthia Enlow
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
The Pacific Northwest is our home and greater back yard. I am a retired nurse with keen interest in the well-being of my neighbors be they: my littlest neighbor, baby Maddox next door, or my neighbors elderly mother, who just moved in for care by her daughter. We've got a fair group of kids who play basketball at the end of the cul-de-sac. Some are campers, hikers, hunters, crabbers and fishing lovers. We share the same interests as you. Some however, can't even speak for themselves because they are short of the breath it takes to pronounce words. They are the people with asthma when it flares up, or COPD/emphysema, or other respiratory disease.
So I want to speak for them. There is no doubt that coal dust particles can contribute to flare ups of these diseases. There is some common sense here that says, if you can see the coal dust on your venetian blinds, they certainly must be inhaled into your lungs. You would think that the bigger the particle the bigger the problem. But it is the even smaller particles that go deeper---and deeper in to the airway paths, and irritate, and block the movement of air. It is a suffocating experience. Imagine you are a child and how this must scare you.
To tell you the truth it is scary no matter what your age. But people are usually more sympathetic toward the young and the elderly------which coincidently are the very ones most negatively affected by coal dust causing asthma.
Here are some pertinent news articles:
http://earthfix.kuow.org/energy/article/coal-dust-a-closer-look/ looks at health effect of coal dust (venetian blinds, house painting companies advertise special cleaning treatments, am't of dust/train car, diesel exhaust from trains) , trackside monitoring needs to be done to understand the risk of exposure.
When childrens lungs are exposed they have reduced lung function for the rest of their lives!!!!! Several environmental issues can affect how much potential dust is released and how it behaves i.e., wind, rain, hot dry weather, how long surfactant lasts during the trip under these various conditions.
We NEED some long term studies! It is known that the effects of coal dust on minors is a process that takes some years (like pneumoconiosis)
Then there is the return trip of the pollution, after the coal is burned via Asia --so maybe Johnny is not directly affected by the local coal dust because he lives some miles away from the terminal/train route---but no worries it will get him 9 months later on the jet stream from Asia:
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/lead-travels-across-oceans-to-other-continents/ (study finds lead from asia in California air samples)
EPA's report assessing the impacts of transporting coal was done in 1978!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't it about time for an update? http://earthfix.kuow.org/energy/article/coal-dusts-environmental-impacts/
http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2013/09/10/new-study-looks-at-coal-and-cancer/ A new study from Southern Ill University school of medicine and U of Kentucky's school of public health looking at coal and cancer---saying that while they only had some small studies the results warrented a larger and closer look.
http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201308230136 silica dust from coal mines and lung disease---OSHA
The bottom line is that long term careful studies need to be done to know exactly how much coal dust is blowing off the trains, under what weather circumstances, and careful studies about the potential health issues for people living in the area, the workers at the terminal, and the residents living along the track routes. We are responsible if we do not do the preliminary work. Ignorance never is a defence.
Mrs. Cynthia Enlow (retired RN)