Fuel School Buses Harm Childrens Health
Urge Clean Fuel School Buses
fuel contains several carcinogens including benzene which harm
childrens health. However, alternative cleaner
fuels are available today. Unfortunately, every day of the school
year, most children are transported to and from school in old,
polluting, diesel-run school buses. Diesel can trigger asthma
attacks, cause respiratory ailments in children and one study
showed that levels of diesel emissions are up to 8 times greater
inside the bus than average levels in outside air. Long Island
has a 7% rate of asthma among children as opposed to a 5% national
on Air & Health
In a paper entitled, the Health Effects
of Air Pollution On Children, Michael T. Kleinman, Ph.D.,
writes: If [childrens lung] cells are damaged
[by ozone and particulates], then the lung may not achieve
its full growth and function as a child matures to adulthood
. (Univ. of CA, Irvine, 2000.)
A Canadian study (Newsday, May 14, 2004)
showed that soot in air can even cause genetic damage that
may be passed on to offspring.
and Suffolk Counties are also designated non-attainment areas
for ozone (O3) formation in our air under the Federal Clean Air
Act. Ozone at ground level can reduce lung capacity and, in extreme
cases, can make it hard to breathe. People with existing lung
diseases--asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema--are particularly vulnerable
to the respiratory effects of ozone.
Network is calling for local schools to phase out old polluting
buses and replace them with the better alternatives
that exist now.
to health impacts, fossil fuels such as diesel also release greenhouse
gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur
oxides which contribute to smog formation and climate change.
study found that as dark particles from diesel drift onto glacial
ice, they melt the ice faster than normal. This contributes to
sea level rise which directly impacts Long Island.
|The storage tank for compressed natural
gas on new bus at Long Beach school
ARE THE SOLUTIONS?
Natural Gas (CNG) buses run much cleaner than diesel and are
supported by Keyspans 4 fueling stations on L.I.
buses should have particulate exhaust filters, combined with
ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. This can reduce emissions by 90%.
made wholly or partially from vegetable oil is commercially
available and is currently in use by several New York municipalities.
technology is becoming available for buses, & greatly reduces
cleaner solutions generally cost more initially, as opposed to
cheap diesel fuel, so NY State support is key to paying the higher
up-front costs of these cleaner buses.
school districts are ultimately responsible for deciding on buses,
they may not have the funds to retrofit or replace every bus.
Our NY State legislators must provide the funding incentives for
converting to natural gas, biodiesel, fuel cell buses, and/or
hybrid engines, or choosing low sulfur diesel with exhaust filters,
all of which are currently in use in many sectors.
Pataki stated in his State of the State address a goal of making
every new school bus a clean fuel vehicle. Through April 2004,
NY State did have a Clean Air School Bus Program administered
through NYSERDA (NY State Energy Research & Development Authority)
which distributed $5 million to 74 school districts around the
state for retrofits, but any new funding for this is dependent
on the new state budget. Schools may also apply for funding through
the local Clean Cities program in Bay Shore. Parents need to help
support these efforts for new alternative fuel buses, and retrofitting
a sample letter you can write to urge the State to continue its
incentives for retrofitting or replacing diesel school buses:
Letter to Your State Legislator
The exhaust from diesel fuel used in school buses is contributing
to air pollution and potentially affecting the health of
children in my school district. Long Island has a 7% rate
of childhood asthma and many studies show the detrimental
effects of soot, ranging from respiratory disease to even
cancer. Meanwhile several better alternatives are currently
available: natural gas, low sulfur diesel, exhaust filters,
biodiesel, and/or hybrid engines.
I urge you to support efforts for NY State to fund the
Clean Air School Bus Program which offers financial incentives
to schools for this purpose.
Please write to me, indicating the actions you are taking
to reduce diesel bus pollution. Thank you for leading the
here to find your State Legislators' contact information.