The Healthy Borders research study was implemented by the San Diego Prevention Research Center and Casa Familiar on a grant from The California Endowment and in collaboration with Dr.PJE (Jenny) Quintana of the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health under a grant from The San Diego Foundation. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of the border crossing experience and border delays on persons residing or working in San Ysidro and on air quality in the community of San Ysidro.

In October 2009, four focus group studies were conducted at Casa Familiar to gather community perceptions of the San Ysidro port of entry and experiences crossing. Of great concern to community residents were long border delays, lack of government assistance, physical stress, and health effects from vehicle fumes. In February 2010 a comprehensive exposure assessment including personal ambient air monitoring and biological markers (via urine sample collection) of 100 pedestrian border crossers was initiated by SDPRC Research Assistant, and University of Washington environmental health doctoral candidate, Vanessa Galaviz. Vanessa objectively measured personal exposure to carbon monoxide and diesel particular matter, as well as ultrafine and fine particulate matter at the border crossing where pedestrians wait in line to cross. In addition, standing monitors measuring wind direction and levels of pollution were monitored in locations across the community of San Ysidro by MPH Environmental Health graduate student, Lynelle Garnica and Jill Dumbauld, with assistance from undergraduate Public Health students Jose Velasco Soltero and Cuong Tran. Preliminary results of this research demonstrated that for the winter months, air concentrations of ultrafine particles and fine particles were elevated at the location nearest the border relative to more distant sites. Ultrafine particles are highly associated with traffic. Black carbon, an indicator of combustion, was not as affected by location near the border but rather more related to the wind conditions. Levels of black carbon in the air were generally low except when the wind blew from the east or south, indicating a significant regional source affecting the community of San Ysidro.

The U.S. federal government is implementing the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry Project, reconstructing the U.S.-Mexico border Land Port-of-Entry in San Ysidro. Casa Familiar has been taking a lead role in advocating for San Ysidro residents to ensure that the new border crossing design takes into account community concerns. Results from the Healthy Borders project were presented to the Federal government and to the San Ysidro community.

In May 2012, a 2-day binational Healthy Borders conference was held at Casa Familiar’s Civic Center in San Ysidro. The conference brought together environmental health academics and practitioners, as well as community members to develop a white paper on proposed next steps to reduce traffic-related air pollution in the San Ysidro-Tijuana border region. Below you will find related materials and analysis.

1. Healthy Borders 2012 Binational Community-Researcher Conference


a. White Paper: Health Impacts of Border Crossings White Paper

b. Papel Blanco: Impactos en la Salud de los Cruzes Fronterizos


01a-052012HealthImpacts+BorderCrossings_White+Paper_FINAL 01b-052012ImpactosSalud+CrucesFronterizos_LibroBlanco_FINAL

2. Final Report: Healthy Borders: San Ysidro Port of Entry Pedestrian Border Crossing Experiences, SDPRC, SDSU Graduate School of Public Health, & Casa Familiar, 2011


3. Healthy Borders Results Presentation, at the U.S. General Services Administration, Community Representatives Committee, June 9, 2011



4. Healthy Borders Results Community Presentation, Spanish, Casa Familiar Sin Limites, June 29, 2011 (Presentación en español de los Resultados de los Estudios: Healthy Borders)



5. Border Dialogues: Casa Familiar Sin Limites April 2004 Workshop Proceedings on GSA Border Station Project

a. Border Dialogues Report


05-Border Dialogues Workshop-Summary-042004 05a-2004BorderDialoguesNEA-Report

6. ER Asthma Rates in San Ysidro, CA (2007-2009)



7. Presentation: Traffic-pollutant exposures experienced by pedestrians waiting to enter the U.S. at a major U.S. Mexico border crossing by Vanessa Galaviz.