Recently released data from U.S. EPA's National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment, analyzed by Scorecard, show that more than 50 million people in the U.S. live in areas where the calculated additional cancer risk from toxic chemicals in the air is more than 1,000 times higher than the goal set by the U.S. Congress. Of that additional cancer risk, 80% comes from mobile sources, especially diesel-fueled vehicles.
EPA has already taken several important regulatory actions to cleanup mobile sources:
1) In April 2001, the agency issued a final rule to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants from mobile sources. In addition to identifying 21 mobile source air toxics, this rule sets new gasoline toxic emission performance standards that will reduce emissions of benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, 1,3-butadiene, and POM.
2) In February 2001, EPA moved to establish a national control program that will regulate heavy-duty vehicles and diesel fuel as a single system. As part of this program, new emission standards requiring high-efficiency catalytic exhaust emission control devices will begin to take effect in model year 2007 and will apply to heavy-duty highway engines and vehicles. Because these devices are damaged by sulfur, EPA has also moved to reduce the level of sulfur in highway diesel fuel by 97 percent by mid-2006.
While these actions are significant steps in the right direction, the magnitude of the health risk from diesel emissions is so large that more stringent action is required, specifically including action on nonroad diesel engines (such as construction equipment) which have so far been largely neglected. Scorecard's draft action message encouraging U.S. EPA to crack down harder on diesel emissions is based on recommendations formulated by the state and territorial air pollution program administrators (STAPPA) and the association of local air pollution control officials (ALAPCO).
EPA's Fact Sheet on Air Toxics from Motor Vehicles
EPA's Mobile Source Air Toxic Emissions website