Air Resources Board Finds Cancer Risk from Diesel School Buses

New study replicates research by NRDC; Groups urge replacement of dirty diesel school buses to protect schoolchildren's health

SAN FRANCISCO (October 15, 2003) -- A new state government study modeled on research by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) shows that diesel exhaust from school buses poses a health risk to schoolchildren. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) replicated the results of a 2001 study by NRDC, the University of California at Berkeley and the Coalition for Clean Air. Both studies found that children may be exposed to significant, and potentially hazardous, levels of toxic diesel exhaust when riding inside a school bus.

According to the CARB study, children riding a school bus for many years face a diesel-related cancer risk that is 30 times higher than what government agencies generally consider acceptable.

"It's confirmed: dirty diesel buses are bad for kids," said Dr. Gina Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., a senior scientist with NRDC and principal author of the original study. "Now we need to act to protect our children from diesel pollution that can cause cancer and contribute to asthma."

Both CARB and NRDC recommend replacing old diesel school buses with cleaner, new buses -- such as buses that run on compressed natural gas -- and retrofitting newer buses with diesel particulate traps. In addition, both groups recommend minimizing bus idling time at schools, discouraging "caravanning" of buses and opening bus windows whenever possible.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 550,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Related NRDC Pages
No Breathing in the Aisles

Related Websites
CARB's Children's School Bus Exposure Study