California’s strict limits on diesel air pollution appear to have paid off. Since the limits were added in 1990, diesel exhaust-related deaths have been halved, with the largest reductions in deaths seen in lower-income communities, a new study finds.
The number of annual diesel-related cardiopulmonary deaths in California between 1990 and 2014 was half what would have occurred if the state had the same reduction in diesel emissions as the rest of the country, the researchers estimated.
“Everybody benefits from cleaner air, but we see time and again that it’s predominantly lower-income communities of color that are living and working in close proximity to sources of air pollution, like freight yards, highways and ports. When you target these sources, it’s the highly exposed communities that stand to benefit most,” said study author Dr. Megan Schwarzman, a physician and environmental health scientist at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.
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