11.14.14

Metrolink Releases Health Risk Assessment of Taylor Yards Emissions Affecting Elysian Valley and Cypress Park Residents

Los Angeles, CA – Today, Metrolink released their long-awaited report on a health risk assessment of their Taylor Yards facility in the Elysian Valley. For years, residents have expressed concern about the impact of Metrolink trains on their health, given that the trains idle for long periods of time in the yard emitting Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM).  According to the EPA, DPM, even in small exposures, can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, as well as cause nausea and exacerbate asthma.  Long-term exposure to DPM can result in lung inflammation and based upon human and laboratory studies there is considerable evidence that diesel exhaust is a likely carcinogen. 

The study can be found here.

"The Health Risk Assessment undertaken by Metrolink is an important step in making sure our neighborhoods are safe, and our kids can enjoy clean air," said Rep. Adam Schiff, who urged Metrolink to undertake the assessment.  "Elysian Valley and Cypress Park residents have the right to know that everything possible is being done to ensure that rail operations are not negatively impacting their families. It is clear from the HRA that important progress has been made, but much more remains to be done. I will be working with the community to accelerate the timetable for further improvements in air quality -- from the adoption of new trains and technologies to better processes at the yard.

“While the HRA provides valuable information on the reduction of particulate matter, the community still has many questions about the effects of rail operations on a variety of other health outcomes ranging from asthma to pulmonary disease.  As we grow our public transportation networks we must do so responsibly. We cannot allow some neighborhoods to bear the burden while others benefit, and I remain committed to working with the community to secure the resources needed to take advantage of cutting edge technology to reduce the carbon footprint further, and give our communities the safe and clean air they deserve.”

Last year, Rep. Schiff and the communities of Elysian Valley and Cypress Park called on Metrolink to undertake a health risk assessment, and since then have been working with Metrolink to ensure that the study had a proper scope, timeline, and leadership running it. Residents for years had  expressed concern about the impact of DPM on their community and children. The residents have worked with Metrolink to take a number of steps to cut down on the idling, reduce pollution, and minimize noise disruptions. One such step allows Metrolink to clean the trains and conduct some other maintenance activities without idling. Metrolink has also committed to charge more trains through electrical outlets, alleviating the need to run secondary train engines to electrify cars for cleaning and maintenance.