Sunday, September 26, 2021
Sept. 26, 2021

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Letter: Study effects of coal dust

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I live along the railroad tracks that follow the Columbia River in Vancouver. Almost every day, I see long trains hauling coal from states to the east.

Many of the newer high-end home construction, including the new waterfront, are adjacent to the railroad tracks because of the fabulous river views.

It concerns me that residents are unaware of the dangers of being exposed to coal dust. It worries me personally because I have a young daughter and feel it may affect her health later in life. I feel residents should be informed of the dangerous exposures of living so close to the coal trains.

Coal dust has been shown to coat the lungs, contributing to problems like chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, cancer and death. Coal has been transported via train for decades but little research has been done on the potential health effects for people who live near coal train routes.

The county needs to fund research into how safe it is to expose people to coal dust, especially along the new waterfront adjacent to the railroad tracks.

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