On Tuesday, March 28, CleanAirNow and the Diesel Health Project conducted a training class on the health risks of air pollution in Kansas City, Kansas, and how people can protect themselves, their family, and their community.
The class focused on diesel exhaust air pollution, which can trigger asthma attacks and cause cardiovascular illness and cancer, and has been linked to many other serious diseases.
Diesel exhaust is not regulated like most dangerous air pollution, so there are no limits on how much diesel exhaust can be emitted from a freight facility like a rail yard or warehouse complex, or from truck freight transportation on a highway.
As a result, while the overall air quality in a city may meet health standards, as is usually the case in Kansas City, air quality in neighborhoods near freight facilities or along highways can be very dangerous.
The training was presented by CleanAirNow members Leticia Decaigny and Richard Mabion. Richard is president of the Kansas City, Kansas chapter of the NAACP and the city’s informal “Green Czar.”
The training event was hosted by El Centro, a very effective local nonprofit organization dedicated to “strengthening communities and improving lives of Latinos and others through educational, social, and economic opportunities.”
Training attendees included leaders from El Centro, the Kansas City, Kansas Housing Authority and other organizations. EPA Region 7 Environmental Justice and Air Quality Program personnel were there to provide support and answer questions.
Students learned about the health effects of diesel exhaust air pollution, how they can protect their families and communities, and what the government and businesses can do to protect their constituents, employees, and neighbors.
Eric Kirkendall, representing CleanAirNow, was pleased with the results of the training. “It was an excellent training class. Class members were fully engaged, asked lots of great questions, and gave very positive feedback.” More training sessions are planned for later this month.
The training is partially funded with an EPA environmental justice grant.
Disclaimer: The content of the training class does not necessarily reflect the views of the EPA, nor is it endorsed by the agency.