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The Dalles, OR—The Oregon Health Authority will collaborate with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, to look at potential long-term health impacts from naphthalene and other air pollutants in The Dalles. ATSDR is a federal public health agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Department of Environmental Quality began monitoring air in The Dalles in June 2016 to learn more about naphthalene and other emissions from AmeriTies. AmeriTies is a railroad tie manufacturer based in The Dalles. DEQ has been working with AmeriTies to reduce odors and emissions stemming from the company's wood treatment operations. Data for the first part of the data collection period was released last month by DEQ.

Based on the data, OHA determined that there was no indication of acute, or short-term, health risks associated with naphthalene emissions in The Dalles. However, levels exceeded the state's clean air goal for naphthalene, which is based on a lifetime exposure of 70 years.

The health consultation will use the finalized air monitoring data to evaluate whether long-term air exposures are harmful. If public health risks are identified, the health consultation provides recommendations to address those risks.

This health consultation is expected to be released in 2017. Questions and comments can be directed to and more information about the process found at

Other related updates include:
1. DEQ will release more monitoring data next month, the second of three data releases that are part of the 90-day monitoring program started by DEQ in June 2016.

2. DEQ and OHA will host an air quality open house. The event is tentatively scheduled for early November. More details will be shared as soon as a time and location are secured. The purpose of the event is for:
- DEQ to answer questions about air monitoring activities and other issues associated with AmeriTies
- OHA and ATSDR to describe the health consultation process and better understand the community's health questions and concerns. The analysis for the health consultation will not begin until after this open house when all of the air data is available.

3. AmeriTies is planning to use a new preservative to treat railroad ties beginning in December 2016, one that uses significantly less naphthalene than the current one. This is one of several odor and emission reduction measures outlined in the Mutual Agreement and Order signed by DEQ and the company in April 2016.
View the Mutual Agreement and Order:

Jonathan Modie, OHA, 971-246-9139,
Greg Svelund, DEQ, 541-633-2008,


Environment & Energy