Diesel engines produce harmful pollution that can be reduced immediately. Older diesel engines emit a mixture of particles, metals and gasses including over 40 "hazardous air pollutants" as classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act. Diesel pollution can trigger asthma and cause lung cancer, stroke, heart attack and infant death, contributing to 21,000 early deaths a year. The cancer risk from diesel exhaust is 7.5 times higher than the total cancer risk from all other 133 air toxins tracked by the EPA combined. Diesel exhaust is particularly dangerous because it is emitted at ground level - just where people breathe it in.
Sources of diesel health risk include school buses, transit buses, construction and industrial equipment, trucks, locomotives and marine vessels. Because such sources are often concentrated in urban areas, increased exposure by people who live or work in cities puts them more at risk than rural residents. Diesel exhaust levels in urban areas cause a tripling of the cancer risk in comparison to suburban areas.
After almost 3 decades of delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving to finalize the scientific re-analysis of the toxicity dioxin. Dioxin is actually a group of chemicals which are among the most toxic chemicals in the world. The chemical industry is trying to block the final Dioxin Reassessment.
We wrote to Administrator Jackson urging EPA to keep this important policy moving. Dioxin is linked to cancer, birth defects, learning problems, reproductive disorders and many other health effects. It is found in the bodies of people all over the world, and over 170 countries have signed a treaty to phase it out. We don’t produce dioxin; it’s a by-product of many industrial processes including burning garbage and medical waste.
We don’t need to argue over the science any more. We need to act.
Arsenic and rocket fuel in our water.
Gender-altering hormones and medications in our rivers and streams. PCBs, dioxins and pesticides in breast milk. Lead in children's toys and women's lipstick. Hazardous ingredients in air fresheners, development disrupting chemicals in plastic baby bottles and dangerous fumes from vinyl shower curtains. Our world is awash in chemicals and pollutants that pose health risks to our families, our communities and our environment.
A healthy environment should not be a luxury, yet our homes and communities are increasingly contaminated by chemicals and fumes from countless everyday objects. Rapidly accumulating scientific evidence suggests many of these chemicals and fumes are not innocuous, and some are absolutely hazardous. This is more than an environmental issue-this is also a health and justice issue.
Many common chemicals and pollutants have already been linked to rising rates of asthma, cancer and heart conditions. And, as technology advances, new products are developed almost daily. It is our responsibility-and in our best interest-to ensure these new products are safe for our families, our communities and our environment. We work with local and national groups to pursue environmental justice by holding polluters accountable and engaging elected officials. Together, we present a strong, unified voice for environmental justice in communities and neighborhoods across the United States.
Collectively, our actions will help guarantee a healthier future for our families and our communities. To reach this goal of a healthier tomorrow, we must: