Paying With Our Health: The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California

Published: November 26, 2006
Authors: Meena Palaniappan, Swati Prakash, Diane Bailey
Pages: 46

Paying With Our Health: The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California” characterizes the costs of freight transport (AKA goods movement) by detailing the health costs of asthma and other illnesses, revenues generated by goods movement activities, and the level of economic opportunity provided to affected communities. It compiles existing exposure studies that characterize the health and local impacts resulting from the system of freight transport.

Too often, when community residents propose changes to improve the quality of life in their communities, they are told that “it’s too expensive.” This report arms residents with information on how the cost of implementing all available control technologies compares to the annual revenues of importers, exporters, and transporter. Its principal authors, Meena Palaniappan and Swati Prakash, find that implementing state-recommended pollution controls would cost freight importers, exporters, and transporters less than a penny per dollar of their California-dependent revenue.

This report also gives numerous community groups a voice in the freight transport debate. Residents of San Leandro, West Oakland, Shafter, North Richmond, Wilmington, Long Beach, Fresno, Merced, Riverside, and other communities discuss the personal impact that freight import has had on them and their families. Similarly, a trucker and a longshoreman discuss their experiences working in the diesel pollution-soaked environment. “Paying With Our Health” recommends that California balances the books by increasing economic opportunity for all Californians while protecting public health.

The report is available for download (2 MB PDF).

The two-page Executive Summary is available separately as well.