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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2004

Contact: Karen Hershey
(609) 984-1795

SCHOOL BUS RETROFITS ARE A GOOD FIT FOR NEW JERSEY SCHOOL CHILDREN

DEP Advances Commitment To Reduce Children's Exposure To Diesel Exhaust

(04/126) Trenton -- Advancing its work to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust from school buses, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced a one-of-a kind retrofit project for New Jersey school buses. Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) has joined forces with Camptown Bus Lines to install retrofit devices on up to 46 school buses in Newark, marking the first time retrofit technology has been installed on school buses in New Jersey.

"We are pleased that companies like PSEG and Camptown Bus Lines have voluntarily stepped up to the plate to achieve cleaner air for our school children," said Commissioner Campbell. "On average, children spend an hour and a half each weekday riding in school buses. That amounts to more than 300 hours every year that Newark school children will be breathing cleaner air."

Commissioner Campbell made today's announcement at the Clinton Avenue School in Newark, one of 19 schools that will be served by the low-emissions buses. Joining Campbell were PSEG President Frank Cassidy and Newark school officials. Assemblyman John McKeon, a co-sponsor of legislation with Senator Bob Smith to reduce diesel emissions from on-road and off-road vehicles, was also present.

The retrofits will reduce particulate emissions by over 50 percent. Diesel emissions are a likely carcinogen, and include fine particles, commonly called soot. These pollutants are known to cause asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease and premature death. Diesel exhaust ranks among the air pollutants that pose the greatest risk to public health. Research has shown that fine particles are harmful because they bypass the body's natural defense mechanisms and penetrate deep into the lungs.

Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of soot because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate. The incidence of asthma among school children in urban areas is especially high and increasing at an alarming rate.

DEP's support for the voluntary installation of retrofits in school buses is just one element of a campaign by the Department to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust. In early October, DEP kicked-off its anti-idling campaign, urging school districts and school bus operators to voluntarily eliminate school bus idling while waiting to load and unload students.

PSEG is contributing $100,000 to retrofit the 46 buses owned and operated by Camptown Bus Lines. MJ Bradley Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts developed and is managing the retrofit project. Environmental Services Worldwide (ESW) is providing the emissions reduction technology and Environmental Systems Products (ESP) is the provider of remote emissions measuring technology that will monitor and document the emissions reductions. The retrofit will be done in two phases. Work on approximately 14 buses has been completed and the remainder will be done by December 31, 2004.

To learn more about diesel emissions and public health, visit DEP's Web site: www.stopthesoot.org

 

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