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Port Of Entry Air May Be Contaminated By Carcinogens

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Port Of Entry Air May Be Contaminated By Carcinogens

Port Of Entry Air May Be Contaminated By Carcinogens

EL PASO, Texas -- A recent study identified a significant presence of ultrafine particles in the air around an international port of entry in El Paso.

These particles are pollutants emitted by diesel fueled vehicles and may pose health risks to those who spend a lot of time at or near the border.

A binational group of researchers along the border in El Paso found high concentrations of these pollutants during peak crossing times at a commercial port of entry. Hector Olvera, who teaches environmental engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso, was the principal investigator.

"These particles are very small," Olvera said. "So small that they evade our human natural defense mechanism... They go all the way to our blood stream."

The World Health Organization classifies these particles as carcinogens, while the Environmental Protection Agency calls them likely carcinogens. Olvera said his research team will conduct future studies looking at the health impacts of these particles. He said researchers in San Diego are conducting similar studies at the San Ysidro port of entry.

The initial particle study was published in the latest issue of the Journal Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.