Friday, October 08, 2004

School buses, kids, and petro-diesel

Edutopia, Sept 04

The switch to biodiesel isn't just good for the environment; it's also better for students. Children riding in diesel-fueled buses -- particularly buses built before tougher emissions controls were introduced in 2000 -- are exposed to significantly higher levels of harmful exhaust.

Petroleum-fueled diesel engines, which power most school buses, are notorious polluters. Regular exposure to diesel fumes has been linked with respiratory problems, cancer, and asthma -- a condition from which 6.3 million U.S. children now suffer. Children run a greater risk of developing health problems associated with air pollution than do adults, according to the Coalition for Clean Air, because their lungs are still developing.

But alternative-fuel advocates say the cheapest -- and most immediate -- solution to the dirty-bus problem is to switch to biodiesel, a nontoxic fuel derived from vegetable oils that requires no new equipment purchases or expensive engine modifications. More than 100 U.S. school districts have already switched, according to the National Biodiesel Board, and many got their funding through the EPA's grant program...
Read complete article.

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