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AmeriTies West

The Dalles, Oregon

The North Central Public Health District requested assistance in understanding if exposures from AmeriTies posed a long-term health risk to residents near the AmeriTies facility in the Dalles, Oregon.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a health consultation addressing this question, using data collected in 2016 by Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The health consultation was released in 2018.


After analyzing the 2016 air data, ATSDR concluded that the exposure to outdoor air concentrations of naphthalene and benzo[a]pyrene* (a type of PAH) do not pose chronic, non-cancer, public health risks. The estimated increased cancer risk is two additional diagnoses in 100,000 lifetimes. The risk is much smaller than a person's overall risk of cancer. ATSDR acknowledged DEQ's expertise and authority to assess and reduce odors.

*ATSDR was not able to evaluate non-cancer risks of other PAHs or PAH mixtures because there are no health-based comparison values available for PAHs except for naphthalene and benzo[a]pyrene.

Background Information

AmeriTies-West is an 83-acre wood preserving and railroad tie production facility that has operated in The Dalles since the 1920s. AmeriTies uses the coal-tar byproduct creosote. After receiving complaints about bad smells, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) initiated an odor nuisance investigation of the facility in 2014. In April 2016, an enforceable agreement was signed with AmeriTies to reduce odors, requiring AmeriTies to try alternative solutions. Air quality monitoring was done in 2011 and 2012. In June 2016, DEQ collaborated with OHA to begin a 90-day air quality monitoring plan to measure emissions and collect additional information needed to make a long-term health analysis regarding naphthalene exposures.


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Agencies collaborating on the AmeriTies HC efforts include: