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Diesel Particulate Matter

Variable Definitions:
Diesel Particulate Matter Percentile: The percentile of a given area’s exposure to air pollutants related to diesel usage (often from trucks, buses, cars, ships, or locomotives) compared to the rest of LA County

Methodology Note:
The original CalEnviroScreen dataset provides percentiles across all California census tract. However, these percentiles are recalculated exclusively within Los Angeles County census tracts to fit NDSC’s geography.

For more information on the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s methodology, visit the CalEnviroScreen homepage.

California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment – CalEnviroScreen 2.0 (2014), CalEnviroScreen 3.0 (2017), CalEnviroScreen 4.0 (2021)

Years Available:

CalEnviroScreen 2.0: 

Data collected from 2009-2011 and published in 2014

CalEnviroScreen 3.0: 

Data collected from 2012-2014 and published in 2017

CalEnviroScreen 4.0: 

Data collected from 2017-2019 and published in 2021

Why are these variables important to measure?

“Diesel PM is the particle phase of exhaust emitted from diesel engines commonly used to power trucks, buses, cars, trains, and heavy-duty equipment. This phase, sometimes referred to as “soot”, is composed of a mixture of compounds, including sulfates, nitrates, metals and carbon particles. The diesel PM indicator is distinct from other air pollution indicators in CalEnviroScreen, such as PM2.5 generated from non-diesel sources. Diesel engine exhaust has been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2012, based on sufficient scientific evidence showing the association between exposure and elevated risk of lung cancer (IARC, 2014). 

In urban areas, diesel PM is a major component of the particulate air pollution from traffic (McCreanor et al., 2007). Children and those with existing respiratory disease, particularly asthma, appear to be especially susceptible to the harmful effects of exposure to airborne PM from diesel exhaust, resulting in increased asthma symptoms and attacks along with decreases in lung function (McCreanor et al., 2007; Wargo et al., 2002)…A study of diesel exhaust inhalation by healthy non-smoking adults found an increase in blood pressure and other potential triggers of heart attack and stroke (Krishnan et al., 2013). 

People that live or work near heavily-traveled roadways, ports, railyards, bus yards, or trucking distribution centers may experience a high level of diesel PM exposure (Krivoshto et al., 2008; NTP, 2016; US EPA, 2002). A study of US workers in the trucking industry found an increasing risk for lung cancer with increasing years on the job (Garshick et al., 2012; Garshick et al., 2008). The same trend was seen among railroad workers, who showed a 40% increased risk of lung cancer (Garshick, 2020; Garshick et al., 2004).”

Excerpt from CalEnviroScreen 4.0 Documentation


 August, Laura, et al. “CalEnviroScreen 4.0.” Oehha.ca.gov, Oct. 2021, https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen/report/calenviroscreen-40.

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