Yes, according to John Froines, a nationally known expert on fine particle pollution — the microscopic pieces of pollution that litter the air, especially around high traffic areas, and which are linked to cancer, heart disease and asthma.
In a recent story in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Froines, a UCLA environmental health sciences professor, and his colleagues, described research that found that the Burlington Norther Santa Fe (BNSF) rail yard in San Bernardino was more polluted than two other major rail yards in Southern California. Specifically, Froines’ team found that the tiny particles in emissions collected near BNSF carried higher concentrations of toxic chemicals than samples near the rail yards in Commerce and Long Beach.
One possible culprit? San Bernardino’s hotter temperatures, which may speed chemical reactions that create toxic compounds.
A spokeswoman for the rail yard said that the problem is not limited to the rail yard but includes pollution from everywhere including ships, cars and factories.
Froine has spoken at trainings held by ALERT, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research initiative to build partnerships between community and advocacy groups concerned about air pollution with supporting data and experts.