In Pittsburgh, children’s visits to the emergency room for asthma symptoms are 400% higher than any other city in the US. This is due to Pittsburgh’s poor air quality from diesel emissions and the lasting effects of the once booming coal industry. The EPA’s tolerable diesel soot cancer risk is one in 1 million; in Pittsburgh it is one in 2,499, leaving people in our region with 408 times greater risk of developing diesel soot cancer. It is projected that in 2010, Pittsburgh workers will miss 13,558 days of work because of exposure to diesel fine particles.
Diesel engines can last 20 to 30 years, so many old and dirty engines are still on the road releasing toxic fumes into the air.
What You Can Do to help cut down on fumes:
- Install retrofit devices on diesel engines, which helps to clean the engine and the air it releases (ambient as well as in-cabin air quality could greatly improve if on and off-road diesel vehicles and equipment were equipped with retrofit devices)
- Conduct routine maintenance of the engine to keep it clean and running well and clean a dirty engine
- Contact your local school district or government offices and petition for retrofit devices on public transportation.
- Support regional initiatives that promote clean air campaign, such as the Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution (http://pghdieselcleanup.wordpress.com)