Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the
dangers of diesel fumes.
Riding the Bus to School May Be Hazardous for Your Kids
Kids breathe this engine exhaust for a total of about 180 hours a year in the United States, the study calculated. Long-term exposure may explain the rise of asthma and other chronic respiratory illnesses among children, researchers said. The study calls on state and federal environmental authorities to crack down immediately on school bus emissions.
Researchers led by John Wargo, professor of risk analysis and environmental policy at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, planned to release full findings of the study this morning at the state Capitol. Environment and Human Health Inc. and the University of Connecticut were also partners in the research. Experts have been unable to explain a rapid increase in self-reported asthma over the past two decades. Asthma in the general population shot up 75 percent between 1980 to 1994, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 13.7 million adults in the U.S. have asthma. Around 4.8 million U.S. school children suffer the same malady, which chokes the airway and is potentially fatal. Approximately 44,500 Connecticut kids have been diagnosed with asthma - nearly 1 in 11 students - and many ride school buses." Components of diesel exhaust are genotoxic (damage genes), mutagenic (cause mutations), and can produce symptoms of allergy, including inflammation and irritation of the airways, " Wargo said. "There is no known safe level of exposure to diesel exhaust for children, especially those with respiratory illness," he said. Diesel exhaust is also considered a probable human carcinogen. Exposure is worst when buses are lined up idling, picking up and dropping off students, and when buses are moving through heavy traffic, researchers found. Keeping bus windows closed increased the exposure. Wargo and colleagues tested 75 bus runs. During 27 bus runs along a rural experimental route with light traffic, all diesel buses had interior concentrations of emissions exceeding the state's 24-hour background rate for fine particles. The highest concentrations exceeded background levels by nearly 10 times. Diesel fuel also contains 40 chemicals listed as hazardous air pollutants under the federal Clean Air Act. Researchers issued more than a dozen recommendations including:
"These strategies, if adopted together, would substantially reduce
pollution levels in the air students breathe on their daily journeys
to and from schools," Wargo said.