Diesel School Bus Campaign

We've all been behind a school bus spewing that awful black smoke. That's because most school buses are run on diesel fuel that hasn't yet been cleaned up. The problem is that the buses line up nose-to-tail while waiting to pick up the kids for the trip home. Not only does that make the air on the bus unhealthy but it can also spread the noxious fumes through the entire school via the school building's air intake system.

Some Facts

Studies in California reveal that more than 70% of the risk of cancer from air pollution comes from diesel exhaust.

Diesel engines emit more than 75% of the fine particles (less than 2.5 microns in diameter) from all vehicles. (U.S. EPA).

Fine particle pollution (otherwise known as soot) from exhaust significantly increases the risk of death from heart and lung disease, causing at least 70,000 deaths a year in U.S. (MN Pollution Control Agency).

According to the U.S. EPA, diesel exhaust aggravates asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. Diesel exhaust exacerbates allergies.

In Minnesota, asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism in school children. Hospitalizations for asthma in Minnesota citizens under the age of 20 is increasing (MN Department of Health).


Require buses to turn off their engines when waiting for students in front of the school.

Increase inspection and maintenance of school buses.

Redesign parking so that school buses do not park in front of air intake vents.

Schools can provide notice to parents about the problems

Parents can stop idling their own vehicles when picking up children  

Other Information and Resources

www.ucsusa.org    Union of Concerned Scientists site - click on clean buses

www.northstar.sierraclub.org/studentzone.htm    how to get involved locally

www.ehhi.org/diesel/    Environmental and Human Health Inc's site