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NEWS ITEMS


School bus pollution a serious threat to children’s health
Detail: A nationwide study called The School Bus Pollution Report Card 2006, researched by the Union of Concerned Scientists and endorsed by the American Lung Association, graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their school bus fleets' pollution and cleanup programs. The study found that though some improvements have been made to reduce school bus emissions, more investments are needed to replace polluting old buses and to retrofit more recent models.

About 95 percent of the nation's 505,000 school buses, which are some of the oldest vehicles on the road, are powered by diesel fuel. Compared to cleaner contemporary alternatives, older conventional diesel buses release 10 to over 100 times more soot pollution. As more than one third of the school buses in use today have been in use for more than a decade, high levels of diesel exhaust and soot expose children to higher risk of asthma, cancer, and other significant health problems. The study found that action on federal, state, and local levels has reduced national soot emissions by only about two percent. Thus school bus pollution continues to pose significant risks to children's health.

The report suggested that without a major increase in funding for state cleanup programs and bus replacements, school buses will continue to pollute more than big rigs. There are some examples of cleanup programs in California and Washington for other states to follow. In addition, several federal programs, including EPA's Clean School Bus USA, have played a large role in improving school bus pollution. The report however suggests that federal programs need to be funded at substantially higher levels to help school districts protect children's health by replacing and retrofitting their school bus fleets.
Source: School Bus Pollution Report Card 2006: Grading the States by Patricia Monahan, Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles
Date: May 29 2006