Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its latest data on air pollution called the National Air Toxics Assessment or NATA. NATA is designed to provide estimates of the risk of cancer and other serious health effects from breathing (inhaling) air toxics in order to inform both national and more localized efforts to identify and prioritize air toxics, emission source types and locations which are of greatest potential concern in terms of contributing to population risk.
Again, this data corroborates the troubling and oft ignored issue of toxic air pollution in the Portland Metro area. And again, Oregon comes up with the third largest population at risk to toxic air behind California and New York.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has worked to address the negative impacts of toxic air through the development of the Portland Air Toxics Solutions program, or PATS. The advisory committee of same (PATSAC) is due to provide recommendations on pollution reduction efforts to realize the goal of reducing toxic emissions in the region to levels that would result in no more than 1 excess cancer per million risk. You can read more about the state effort to address air toxics, and the response to the new NATA data at the DEQ website. Multnomah County leads the state in cancer risk due to toxic air pollution.
On top of cancer risks, NATA data also highlights the non-cancer risks of respiratory hazards due to toxic air pollution.