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E-M:/ Diesel study results released
- Subject: E-M:/ Diesel study results released
- From: Mary Beth Doyle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 09:54:08 -0400
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Mary Beth Doyle <email@example.com>
Title: Diesel study results released
Preliminary Results of School Bus Diesel Study
Show that Tailpipe Emissions Can Be Eliminated
Diesel Particle Filter with Cleaner Fuel Makes
Children's Ride Healthier
Harris, East Michigan Environmental Action
Council Tel.: 586/306-8664 Action Council
Doyle, Ecology Center
Tel.: 734/663-2400 x 108
Randy Trent, Ann Arbor Public Schools
Russell, Clean Air Task Force
ANN ARBOR (April 30, 2004) - Initial results of a test of
diesel engine pollution from Ann Arbor public school buses demonstrate
that an easy-to-install, widely available technology can virtually
eliminate emissions of very small particles from bus tailpipes.
Diesel soot particles present a health risk while children are riding
buses to school, and while they are waiting to board idling buses
outside of school buildings.
The testing was
conducted in mid-April by the Ann Arbor Public School District, two
Michigan-based environmental and public health groups - the Ecology
Center and the East Michigan Environmental Action Council - and by
the Clean Air Task Force, a national organization that works with
local partners to clean up buses and power plants. Preliminary
results were released today.
"Riding the school bus
is still the safest way for our children to get to school, but the
ride could be an even more healthy experience if we cleaned up
emissions from the tailpipes of our buses," said Randall J. Trent,
Director of Environmental and Utility Services for the Ann Arbor
Public School District. "We are committed to taking further
action to add emission controls to our buses, and have put in a
request for funding from an upcoming bond issue," Trent added.
contains a high percentage of fine and ultra-fine particles -
technically called PM2.5 and PM1.0 - which can be less than 1/100th the width of a
human hair. Soot has been found to trigger asthma attacks in
children, and has other health impacts.
Emissions from a test
bus - selected for its average age and usage, and driven on a
typical route - were measured both before and after it was outfitted
with a diesel particulate filter and ultra-low sulfur fuel. With
the filter and the fuel, soot emissions from the tailpipe dropped from
levels that exceeded the range of the testing equipment down to
results should encourage other school districts to follow Ann
Arbor's lead and make operating cleaner buses a priority," said the
Ecology Center's Mary Beth Doyle. "Particle filters are widely
available and Michigan is one of the few areas in the country in which
ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel can now be purchased. This is
especially important given that new federal regulations mandating
cleaner buses apply only to new equipment purchased after 2007 - not
to the familiar yellow school buses that are on the road now," she
added. "And some of those buses will still be in operation in
the year 2015."
Diesel soot generally enters a bus through its doors.
That happens while the bus is driven on its route, as well as while it
idles outside of a school, waiting to pick up students. Several
communities in Michigan have adopted anti-idling ordinances that are
helping to keep students safe as they wait to board the bus.
"A bus can
start its route filled with diesel soot if it is allowed to idle for
ten or twenty minutes," stated Elizabeth Harris, Executive Director
of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council, which also was
involved in the bus study. "West Bloomfield has an anti-idling
program because parents were concerned for their children and decided
to take action."
A few other communities, such as
Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham, have anti-idling policies and others
have said they will adopt policies soon. "We urge parents to
tell their school districts they want anti-idling policies," Harris
A school bus emits diesel soot particles in two ways.
Most emissions come from the tailpipe, but some come from the engine
crankcase. These emissions affect students in two places -
while waiting for the bus, and while riding it.
Another segment of the study focused on emission levels next
to idling buses. Alongside a conventional diesel bus, soot
levels flew off the charts. But emissions from the same bus,
when equipped with a diesel particle filter, were nearly
indistinguishable from low background levels. The research team
also tested a second piece of equipment that was designed to eliminate
emissions from the engine itself. This device did not perform as
well as hoped, and members of the team expressed interest in testing
other available options later this year. Researchers were
assisted by a group from Purdue University under the direction of Dr.
Neil Zimmerman, and graduate students from the University of Michigan
under the direction of Drs. Stuart Batterman and Tom Robins.
"We think that, by
demonstrating in a rigorous way that communities can make significant
strides in eliminating their children's exposure to diesel soot
emissions, more cities and towns will follow Ann Arbor's lead and
decide they want to learn more about the effects of diesel soot and
the cost-effective manner in which they can address the problem,"
stated Dr. Bruce Hill, Senior Scientist with the Clean Air Task
1996, the Clean Air Task Force (www.catf.us) is a nonprofit
organization dedicated to restoring clean air and healthy environments
through scientific research, public education, and legal advocacy.
CATF's staff includes scientists, engineers, economists, MBAs and
lawyers. The organization works closely with more than 40 state,
local, regional and national groups to educate the public, media,
industry and public decision makers on the science and economics of
clean air policies through fact-based and locally appropriate
East Michigan Environmental
Action Council (www.emeac.org) is nonprofit, public interest
group whose mission is to "protect and restore land, air, water and
diversity of life through informed personal and public action."
The organization was founded in 1970 and is based in Bloomfield Hills,
Michigan. EMEAC's accomplishments include legislative and
legal changes that have increased protection for land, air and water,
and the preservation of biological diversity. It also is engaged
in educational activities that help to raise the level of public
understanding about environmental issues.
The Ecology Center
(www.ecocenter.org) is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization
that works for clean air, safe water, and environmental health.
The Ecology Center's programs work to transform the environmental
practices of the automobile, health care, and chemical industries, to
implement smart growth policies, and to promote waste reduction and
The Ann Arbor Public School District covers 125 square miles,
serving the city of Ann Arbor and parts of eight surrounding
townships. The district has 20 elementary schools, one K-8 open
school, five middle schools, two comprehensive high schools, three
alternative high schools, one pre-school and one adult education
program. It serves the needs of more than 16,800 students in
grades pre-kindergarten through 12. The district employs more
than 3,000 full- and part-time staff members. Approximately 76%
of the teaching staff holds a master's degree or above. The
district operates a school bus fleet of 125, 110 of which are on the
road at any given time. Its website is:
Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104
734-663-2400 ext 108