Breathing a little cleaner, thanks to advanced emissions controls

Kids are getting healthier because of reductions of harmful emissions from trucks. So are the rest of us, of course, but The New England Journal of Medicine recently published research that focused on improved lung function in children who breathe cleaner air.

Conducted in five communities in the Los Angeles basin over three distinct periods beginning from 1994 to 2011, the study specifically examined the effects of particulates and oxides of nitrogen. Trucking and other activities associated with the movement of goods are a significant source of these pollutants in Southern California. Over the course of the study, fine particulates fell by 50 percent and nitrogen dioxide levels by 35 percent in the communities as the result of federal and state criteria emission standards

In other words, cleaner trucks and other air quality improvement strategies are making kids’ lungs function better.

It is a heartening reminder that it’s been worth the effort to clean-up the environmental impact of the trucking industry.  The benefits of reducing air pollution may present themselves in subtle ways. Like a kid being able to leave her ventilator at home. Or being able to engage enthusiastically in sports. Or just sleeping better through the night.

These are real, tangible, and significant benefits. What is more, these benefits are known to last a lifetime. Children with healthier lungs grow up to be adults who have a lower risk of premature death and other serious health problems. Introducing changes that make freight operations greener usually delivers financial dividends, but in the end, it’s about a whole lot more than that.

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