Diesel and air quality

Why do we need to act now to reduce diesel pollution from heavy-duty engines? Because it’s not only one of Oregon’s biggest air quality problems—it contributes to all of them.  According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s 2017 Air Quality annual report, Oregon’s “air pollutants of greatest concern” are:

Ozone levels in Oregon come close to violating EPA standard.

Ground-level ozone (smog): 

Diesel engines are responsible for 49% of NOx (a smog-forming pollutant) from transportation. Heavy duty vehicles are the largest source of NOx emissions in Oregon. Ozone is created when NOx and VOC pollutants meet high temperatures and sunlight. According to Diesel Technology Forum, one diesel truck from 1988 can emit as much NOx pollution as 50 trucks that meet 2017 standards.

Air toxics: In addition to toxic diesel particles, exhaust contains toxic gases. Diesel is a source of both benzene and acetaldehyde, which are near or above health benchmarks in Oregon. 

Climate pollution: Diesel engines emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to global climate change. In addition, about 70% of diesel particles are black carbon, which has immediate effects on the local climate. Black carbon changes the quality of clouds (altering precipitation), causes faster snow and ice melt, and contributes to warmer temperatures ( absorbing solar radiation and emitting it as heat). 

Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5)
Fine (microscopic, 2.5 micron) sooty particles (PM 2.5) come from all sources of burning materials—but old diesel engines are responsible for 60% of them. Diesel particulate matter (DPM) is both part of the bigger soot problem and also considered its own uniquely toxic pollutant with its own health benchmark. Oregon’s health benchmark for diesel particulates in ambient air is set at 0.1 μg/m3 to protect people from excess cancer risk over a lifetime.

Today, 19 counties (where most Oregonians live) exceed that benchmark. 

These Average ambient concentrations are based on 2014 data reported by the state of Oregon to the 2018 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA). County averages are calculated by NATA. City averages are based on an average from census blocks, as calculated by NATA, that fall largely within city limits. https://www.epa.gov/national-air-toxics-assessment. 
Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Policy Featured Toxics-Free Environments Air Quality Toxic Free Priorities
Sort by

Air quality action in Salem

2018 may go down in history as a hallmark year for climate action, but it’s not the only excitement in the air. In fact, the air itself is an exciting topic. Oregon legislators are considering ways to control diesel pollution and toxic air pollution from industry. In case you missed it, here are highlights from hearings in Salem this month:Antonio and Cassie, both high school students in Salem, testified about their concerns over diesel pollution and support for
February 16, 2018, 11:34 pm
admin

9

Hazy Skies & Air Quality Warnings

Guest blog by Katie Young, Program Intern at OEC
March 7, 2017, 7:23 pm
admin

9

Citizen science for air quality

With binders, pens
September 20, 2016, 7:41 pm
jenc

9

Health First for Air Quality

April 18, 2016, 11:39 pm
jenc

9

Who cares about diesel pollution?

March 28, 2019, 6:05 pm
jenc

0

Diesel pollution and health

Diesel exhaust is costing Oregon billions of dollars each year in health care costs, lost lives and missed work and school. “In pediatrics, we want to prevent kids from getting sick. We are asking parents to take individual action. But there’s nothing we can do to get them to prevent exposing their kids to air pollution. It’s only good public policy that can help protect kids in that way.” — Dr. Paul Lewis, MD, MPH; Tri-County Health Officer Diesel exhau
February 7, 2019, 10:00 pm
jenc

0

2019: Time to clean up diesel with HB2007

The time to pass a strong bill that truly protects public health and Oregonians from diesel
February 7, 2019, 7:43 pm
admin

0

New report: Oregon fails on diesel

This month, Oregon’s cross-agency team of experts made it very clear: None of our current efforts to reduce diesel pollution have worked, or will work, to meet our state’s goals for protecting human and environmental health. “Diesel emissions impacts to human health and the environment are not being adequately addressed by the DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] or through Toxics Reduction Strategy planning.” This matter-of-fact statement, and details about Orego
January 30, 2019, 6:21 pm
jenc

0

Decades of diesel

Oregon’s path to clearing the air of diesel pollution is a long one, but 2019 is the year to get serious about solutions. Check out our timeline for the policies—and missed deadlines—that have led us to this moment of change. 
January 14, 2019, 3:28 pm
jenc

0

Salem Diesel Awareness Project

November 14, 2018, 11:38 pm
admin

0


No Replies to "Diesel and air quality"


    Got something to say?

    Some html is OK