Sound Progress

Research and insights from Puget Sound Sage.

Diesel Exhaust Counts Higher in Duwamish Valley Neighborhoods

King 5

King 5

New research conducted by the University of Washington in collaboration with Puget Sound Sage indicates that residents of South Park and Georgetown are likely exposed to higher levels of diesel exhaust than residents of the Beacon Hill and Queen Anne.  Within the two Duwamish Valley neighborhoods, pollution levels vary, even across small areas, and residents near busy roads and industrial areas face higher levels of diesel exhaust pollution.

The higher air pollution levels due were documented in the Diesel Exhaust Exposure in the Duwamish Study (DEEDS), which measured diesel exhaust in the port-adjacent neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown. A large volume of traffic travels through these South Seattle communities is due to nearby highways, industry, train routes, and the Port of Seattle.

The study confirms what many residents already knew.  In our 2009 community surveys, Puget Sound Sage found that sixty percent of neighborhood residents believed pollution from commercial trucks affected the health of their families.  Long-term occupational exposures to high concentrations of diesel exhaust have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular health problems as well as cancer.

Environmental health researchers in the UW School of Public Health collected data over a two-week period in summer 2012 and winter 2012-2013 on four primary pollutants that serve as markers of traffic-related air pollution, including 1-nitropyrene, nitrogen oxides, black carbon, and particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter. Researchers also compared this data to pollutants measured in residential sites in Queen Anne and Beacon Hill.

For the full report, please visit

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