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My interest also includes work in the District of Columbia on the Committee on Inhalation Therapy for the Washington Hospital Center and various other hospital activities.
I am actually substituting to some extent for Dr. Harold Silver, who was originally scheduled to appear here, but because of the change in time, was unable to.
There have been a number of statements made and the only ones that I can substantiate are those directly relating to the care of patients with pumonary and respiratory problems, and this is my primary interest.
I have noticed in my own practice there are frequently changes for the worse in patients with emphysema and with other respiratory diseases when there is a heavier apparent air pollution. This has been particularly apparent often in clinics that we have had at the Washington Hospital Center in the pulmonary clinic where we have many patients with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic lung disease. I cannot give any specific figures. Unfortunately this has to be simply a subjective impression.
Mr. MULTER. May I interrupt you?
Are there no statistics available and/or reports of statistics available on reports on conditions that existed in Pittsburgh before and after they cleaned up the city there?
Dr. GEIGER. I can't state as to Pittsburgh. I have a little data on an area of Staten Island in New York which was affected by Elizabeth and Bayonne, New Jersey.
Mr. MULTER. I refer to Pittsburgh specifically because we know Pittsburgh had a very bad situation at one time and they cleaned it up to a tremendous extent. Staten Island is a bad situation and the situation is getting worse. They haven't begun to clean it up.
Dr. GEIGER. That is right. I was talking earlier this morning with a doctor that comes from Pittsburgh and his impression was there was improvement. I think the work in Pittsburgh has been smoke abatement rather than the actual diminution of other contaminants which are not so readily visible and there is still considerable trouble with automotive exhaust and sulfur dioxide and other things in Pittsburgh. In the interest of time I don't want to read a lot of things that I have written here. I would certainly hope that this kind of legislation would help to eliminate the hazards of air pollution in this area, and I would feel strongly that the capital of the nation certainly should be in the vanguard of those areas developing model standards for air pollution control.
I would hope that this bill will meet with favorable action by the Committee and the Congress.
Mr. WINN. Doctor, these people in the clinic that you mentioned and the ones that you have treated, do you feel that they would be better off, healthier, if they were sent away from the District or from the cities where there is known heavy air pollution?
Dr. GEIGER. I have seen this. Actually I can think of one particular patient of mine who has severe emphysema and who has moved toArizona. I am not exactly sure where, but a small town in Arizona where the air is much less polluted. And from what I have heard from this man he has been benefitted by this. He would have specific worsening of his shortness of breath and cough whenever he attempted to
drive a car or ride behind a bus or get caught in traffic or just go outside his apartment.
Mr. WINN. Wouldn't you say that is true of all of us? Would you say that this air pollution, you, in your opinion, would be responsible for irritating or the start of emphysema or a source of these respiratory diseases?
Dr. GEIGER. Speaking particularly of emphysema I think this is a disease which is caused by a number of factors. There is probably in some individuals some hereditary tendency to develop it. All of us are aware of the fact of the large factor of cigarette smoking. Air pollution is an added factor. I don't think anyone could consider it the sole factor.
Mr. WINN. You have heard the questioning or my line of thinking on the nose and throat irritations. Do you get into that in any way, or do you see the results of this because of air pollution?
Dr. GEIGER. Only indirectly in that people who have for instance and allergic difficulty with the nose and throat will have added difficulty again if they are caught in traffic.
Mr. WINN. You might well get those driving across country from many types of altitudes.
Dr. GEIGER. That is true.
Mr. WINN. Have you talked to any ear, nose and throat specialists about what they have found, in your conversations along this line? Dr. GEIGER. Not specifically, Mr. Winn.
Mr. GUDE. Doctor, you are associated with the clinic that specializes in pulmonary work?
Dr. GEIGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. GUDE. Nose and throat also?
Dr. GEIGER. No; of diseases of the lower respiratory tract and lungs and trachi and bronchi and not so much for the nose and throat. Although those are almost all common with chronic lung disease.
Mr. GUDE. What sort of a patient load do you have?
Dr. GEIGER. At this particular clinic that I mentioned we see perhaps ten to 15 patients a week, which is not a very large caseload. But it is a specialist clinic, functioning primarily on referral of patients with specific pulmonary problems from their hospital centers. The type of patients that we really see are two, those with acute problems which may be diagnostic in nature and not particularly germane to this kind of discussion, and the others are those with chronic lung disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, people who continually cough and have shortness of breath and are distressed by many, many things including air pollution.
Mr. GUDE. Well, then the average caseload on the average per week is about ten to 15.
Have you noticed an increase in certain periods?
Dr. GEIGER. Yes, in warm, summer weather there is a definite falloff where you may not see perhaps not more than five or six patients at a given clinic. When the weather turns damp and colder, when people are exposed to these factors, when there is heavier smoke or fog in the air, the caseload is greater and many of these patients tend to report to the emergency room with acute difficulty when the clinic. is not in session.
Mr. GUDE. You mean the emergency rooms at the various hospitals. Dr. GEIGER. Yes, that is correct.
Mr. GUDE. What would you say would be the number in these acute periods of bad conditions?
Dr. GEIGER. This is a time when I think that one may see as many as 15 or more patients at a given clinic as opposed to a low of five at other times.
Mr. GUDE. I asked Dr. Grant about the possibilities of air pollution and this is the type of conditions that you are speaking of?
Dr. GEIGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. GUDE. The aspects are such that all the polluted air stays here instead of moving off.
Dr. GEIGER. Yes. I have not encountered this as yet. And some of these have been discovered in retrospective studies-as I am sure you are aware of the one that occurred in New York in the '50's and wasn't discovered until there was a statistical review of death some 12 years after.
Mr. WINN. Does the humidity in the District affect the air pollution?
Dr. GEIGER. It would tend to retain more air pollution.
Mr. WINN. Almost the same as a fog?
Dr. GEIGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MULTER. Thank you, Dr. Geiger.
If you or any of the other witnesses who have not yet been heard have any comments that they want to make with reference to the bill that was introduced yesterday, the so-called Commissioners, we would be very happy to have them.
If any of the witnesses who have not yet been heard would like to file their statements for the record at this time, we will take the statements at this time.
We will stand in recess until 10:00 o'clock next Wednesday. If by any chance that is changed, notice will be given to the witnesses and the public of the change.
(Whereupon, the Subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene next Wednesday, August 16, 1967, at 10:00 o'clock a.m.)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 1967
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 2 OF THE
COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 o'clock a.m. in Room 1310, Longworth House Office Building, Honorable Abraham Multer, presiding.
Present: Representatives Multer (Chairman), Winn, and Gude. Also present: James T. Clark, Clerk; Hayden S. Garber, Counsel; Sara Watson, Assistant Counsel; Donald Tubridy, Minority Clerk; Leonard O. Hilder, Investigator.
Mr. MULTER. The Committee will be in order. We will hear first this morning from Captain John Thot. Captain, will you come forward please and identify yourself for the record. I understand you want to make a statement.
STATEMENT OF CAPTAIN JOHN THOT, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
Capt. THOT. I am Captain John M. Thot, assigned to the Metropolitan Police Department, specifically attached to the Traffic Division in Charge of Traffic Operation and Enforcement. I was requested to be here by the Chief of Police to represent him this morning to give you the Department's thoughts on the matter at hand.
The Metropolitan Police Department's function and involvement in air pollution control is primarily that of enforcement. There have been a number of regulatory and statutory provisions, some of which remotely related to the over-all air pollution problem and with only incidental ability. The Department endorses and supports the captioned bills which provide needed regulation of a critical problem facing the District of Colubmia. It is noted that Section 9 (a) would prohibit emissions containing contaminants which are darker in shade than number 1 on the Ringelmann smoke chart. In this connection the bill would prohibit and prohibit most exhaust from automobiles and thus be too broad to be properly enforced. It is suggested that a better standard be darker in shade than number 2 of the Ringelmann smoke charts.
Mr. MULTER. Which bill are you referring to?
Capt. THOT. Bill H.R. 6981.
Mr. MULTER. On page 11?
Capt. THOT. This is the Ringelmann chart published by the United States Bureau of Mines for comparison of smoke conditions, densities, and capacities. Further, it appears that Section 11-B of the proposed bill is a very broad restatement of matter already part of the traffic regulations of the District of Columbia. In order to maximize enforcement of this particular section it is felt its language could be phrased in language which appears in the traffic regulations Section 144. Section 144 is that part of the traffic regulations dealing with every motor vehicle operator on the street or highway shall be equipped with a muffler or mufflers of the type approved by the Director in constant operation properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise and no such muffler or mufflers or any part of the exhaust system shall be equipped with a cut-out, by-pass, or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of the motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise of the motor or emitted by the muffler or mufflers installed by the manufacturer of the vehicle. It continues primarily in the muffler and exhaust emission area. Under existing law the Department functions with respect to this subject matter have been limited to enforcement, relating to motor vehicles. In this connection he invites attention to the statements admitted at an earlier hearing at Senator Tydings' Committee on Business Commerce, Public Health Education and Safety in the Senate in the District of Columbia.
With appropriate consideration of the above, the Metropolitan Police Department would recommend approval of H.R. 6981.
Mr. MULTER. Captain, have you seen the Bill, or has anybody in your organization examined H.R. 12232?
Capt. THOT. No, we haven't. This function is primarily within the scope of the Planning and Developing Unit and handled by a legal employee, Mr. Christensen. I don't know whether he has had an opportunity to see it or make a decision on it.
Mr. MULTER. Captain, I suggest you have the appropriate people in your organization examine that Bill and indicate to us, by supplemental statement, indicating whether or not you have any recommendations to that Bill. Are there any questions of Captain Thot?
Mr. WYNN. I have no questions.
Mr. GUDE. Then your specific recommendations, Captain, were that in section 9(a) number 1 contaminant should be changed to number 2 in the Ringelmann smoke chart?
Capt. THоT. Yes.
Mr. GUDE. Any other change?
Capt. THOT. Traffic regulations touching on this problem are already in effect in the District of Columbia and have been enforced for some time. The most recent statistics on our enforcement effort indicate we had 686 cases of defective mufflers, 348 cases of excessive smoke from a motor vehicle, all of which violate the regulations. This is our main enforcement effort.
Mr. GUDE. Did the Department give consideration to Subsection (C) on page 17 where the Commissioners would have the authority to require pollution control devices on auto engines?
Capt. THOT. Yes, sir.
Mr. GUDE. This approach has the approval of the Department? Capt. THOT. Yes, sir.
Mr. GUDE. I should imagine the policeman in the street has more contact with air pollution than any other citizen.