Health Study Reveals Elevated Cancers and Children’s Asthma

BNSF Railyard Health Study Released

Health Study Reveals Elevated Cancers and Children’s Asthma


   This week, Loma Linda University unveiled the results of the BNSF Railyard Health Study with alarming findings.  Several elevated cancer clusters and a 47% rate of asthma and asthma like symptoms for nearby school children!

  The study consisted of 3 separate parts:

1)  a review of California Cancer Registry for

Region 5;

2)Children’s Respiratory Health Screening and

3)  Adult Household Study.


1)    The Cancer Registry Review

For all cancers there is a 23% elevations for white males and a 10% overall elevation.

For specific Cancers:

 Breast Cancer30% elevation among Hispanic females

 Lung/bronchus cancer:

  • 78% statistical excess among females in the high risk area (residents closest to the railyard)
  •  34% elevated level for white females and 37% increase in white males throughout the study area
     Colon/rectal cancer:
  • 44% increase among males
     Pancreatic Cancer:
  • 43% elevation for both sexes

The 78% elevation in lung cancer for females in the high risk area is especially alarming given it is controlled for smoking.In this area there is a lower level of smokers than expected.In fact the majority of the women in this area were not smokers and never have been.Smoking does not account for this level of cancer.

2)  Children’s Respiratory Health Study

1,066 (74% participation) in two schools – Exposure school (ES) near the railyard and a control school (CS) 7 miles from the area and away from the railyard, but still in a polluted area from busy traffic corridors.

Conducted PEF (lung function indicator), FENO(a marker of airway inflammation) and anthropometric measurements

  • 47% of ES children demonstrated asthma or asthma like symptoms
  • ES children experienced a significant 59% increase in the prevalence of reduced PEF compared to the CS children.
  • 70% of parents did not know their children had asthma.

3)  The adult household study

The adult household study interviewed 1,075 people in the winter/spring of 2012.  The study included a survey, two respiratory tests (Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) and airway inflammation and indoor and outdoor air sampling.  It compared an Exposed area (A & B); a high exposure area ( zone A, closest to the railyard); Zone B, moderate Exposure area; and a background area not in the railyard impact area as defined by the Health Risk Assessment conducted in 2008 by California Air Resources Board.

While findings were borderline significant …“a consistent trend of increased prevalence of adverse outcomes was observed from the Moderate to the High exposure regions. Across endpoints and exposure levels, elevations ranged from small to moderate.”

Demographic information was equally alarming.

  • 83.90% Hispanic
  • 60% make less than $10,000 per year
  • 75.39% under age 40
  • 60% do not have health insurance; cannot afford medical care; do not use Emergency Room services – leaving them to over the counter drugs and home remedies as their primary health care mode.


Contact Name: Ericka Flores or Graciela Larios

Organization Name: Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

Phone Number: 951-360-8451 or

So What do we do about it?

Clearly this is a community in desparate need of help.

CCAEJ has installed high performance air filters in 7 schools giving a reprieve to the children from the smothering pollution.  As long as they are indoors — at school.  But what happens when they go home or play outside?

Are they to hide inside? As one resident stated so elequently last night,“Now it’s documented.

The blame lies squarely on one person’s lap –Warren Buffet, who owns BNSF!

This multi-billionaire has ade his wealth at the expense of our families. When is he going to step forward and clean up his act?

The technology is here; they’re using at the ports and around the world, why not here in an Bernardino?” Rudi Flores, Westside resident

And where are the agencies whose job it is to protect us? While millions are spent on green lawnmowers, less toxic paints, automotive supplies, residents of the westside are dying.

Attention is given at the ports of LA and Long Beach, while San Bernardino, whose pollution levels are higher, sufficate under a blanket of deadly pollution.

An even bigger question, Where are our local elected officials? Not one of them was present last night to hear these results – not the Mayor; not the City Council; not the school board members; not our County Supervisors; Assemblymembers, Senate or Congressional members.

What are You — our elected officials and public agencies– going to do about this?

In light of the horrendous findings of the health study CCAEJ asks that you join with the residents of the Westside and demand action! Call or email the following leaders and demand they step forward to stop this deadly situation!

Mayor Carey Davis City of San Bernardino (909) 384-5133

City Councilwoman, Virginia Marquez (909) 384-5268

Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board  (916) 322-5840

Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway, or  twitter(@WarrenBuffett

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice  (CCAEJ

PO Box 33124 Riverside, CA 92519 951-360-8451

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CCAEJ sends updates on important environmental health issues to those that have expressed an interest in these important issues.

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