CLEAN AIR COUNCIL REPORT CALLS
FOR ACTION ON HARMFUL AIR POLLUTION IMPACTING PUBLIC HEALTH AND
(05/100) TRENTON -- The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that the Clean Air
Council issued its annual report recommending actions to improve
air quality in New Jersey. The report indicates that unfiltered
diesel exhaust is a significant source of harmful air pollution
adversely impacting the health of residents and increasing health
In its report, the Council highlights that diesel-powered engines,
such as those found in trucks and school buses, are responsible
for a significant amount of the particulate air pollution in New
Jersey, especially in areas of high traffic and large populations
such as urban areas. DEP supports legislation passed last month,
which requires the use of air pollution control technology to
reduce particulate emissions from school buses, transit, buses,
garbage trucks as well as publicly owned on-road and non-road
"This report validates the economic and public health importance
of our initiative to reduce soot emission," said DEP Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell. "All New Jersey residents will play
a role on this issue when our soot reduction initiative is presented
to voters as a public question."
The adverse health effects caused by air pollution continues
to be disproportionately higher in communities of color and low-income
communities. These communities are often located in urban centers
that experience higher levels of pollution because of proximity
to traffic and point source pollution such as smokestacks.
"The Clean Air Council is dedicated to improving air quality
for all New Jersey's residents, while ensuring a healthy legacy
for generations to come," said Leonard Bielory, M.D., Public
Hearing Chairman of the Clean Air Council. "The link between
poor air quality and the increased risk of developing respiratory
diseases, such as asthma, is a significant public health concern.
By further reducing harmful air pollution we can improve the health
of New Jersey residents, as well as reduce health care costs and
alleviate the financial burden that air pollution places on businesses
and the State."
The Council notes that scientific research over the past 30 years
indicates a direct link between poor air quality and increased
incidence of asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature deaths.
The health care costs associated with treating conditions caused
or aggravated by air pollution are high because of the loss of
productivity with time away from school and work and the high
number of emergency room visits. In New Jersey, more than two
million people under the age of 65 are without insurance, and
rely on hospitals as the only source of medical care. The use
of the state's hospitals as primary care facilities burdens taxpayers
and increases overall state costs.
Among the many recommendations offered by the Council, the report
urges the State to increase its public outreach efforts to alert
residents and visitors about the harmful effects of air pollution.
Specifically, the Council is encouraging DEP to join with the
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and
the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
to expand existing pollen and mold "Health Alerts" to
include ozone and a pollution index developed by DEP.
The Council is also urging DHSS to support regulation to limit
smoking in all public facilities to protect the health and welfare
of New Jersey's residents, tourists and workers.
"There would be an immediate impact with lasting benefits
for all New Jerseyans if the legislature were to pass a ban on
smoking in public places and the workplace," said Dr. Eddy
Bresnitz, Deputy Commissioner and State Epidemiologist of the
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. "The
implementation of the Council's recommendations would improve
the overall health of the public."
Consistent with the recommendations of the Council, DEP is increasing
public awareness efforts through outreach and education, as well
as regulation and enforcement initiatives to address diesel emissions
caused by idling vehicles. A collaborative effort between DEP,
NJDHSS, and UMDNJ is underway to expand the scope of the state's
The Clean Air Council, created in 1954, is comprised of representatives
from public, private and non-profit groups who serve in an advisory
capacity to the DEP regarding air matters.
For additional information and the Council's report, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/cleanair