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Healthy School Environments

School Buses

A picture of school buses
Why It's Important
  • Buses idling at schools can produce concentrated diesel exhaust emissions inside and outside schools.
  • Diesel exhaust can cause lung damage when inhaled and has been identified as a likely cause of cancer.
  • The soot and gases emitted by diesel engines are associated with:
    • Acute eye, throat and bronchial irritation
    • Exacerbation of asthma and allergies
    • Potential interference with lung development in children
  • In addition to impacting human health, diesel exhaust also harms the environment by contributing to smog formation and acid rain.
What You Can Do
  • Ask if your school or community's idling practices have been assessed, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Reduce unnecessary idling by adopting an anti-idling policy for school buses, passenger vehicles and delivery trucks.
  • Use the tools on this page to engage school officials, teachers, parents and students in creating an idle reduction campaign.
  • See Component 3 of EPA's School Environmental Health Guidelines for more information.

A figure depicting a sign which reads 'No Idling Children Breathing'

EPA Region 8's toolkit includes information on running an effective idling reduction campaign at school in order to reduce student exposure to toxic vehicle exhaust. Resources are also provided to make the campaign a student-run science or community involvement project.

Find More From...

EPA and Federal Partners

Regional, State and Local Resources

  • Sensible Steps for Healthier School Environments Exit EPA Disclaimer by EPA provides an overview of issues related to buses and vehicle idling around schools.
  • Anti-Idling Programs Exit EPA Disclaimer offers free resources from AirwatchNW to help gather information on idling in your community and create an idling reduction program. The website includes numerous templates for engaging schools by contacting principals, teachers, bus drivers and parents.
  • Diesel Programs and Activities Exit EPA Disclaimer describes efforts of the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board to reduce diesel exhaust from vehicles and stationary engines and equipment. Related programs such as risk reduction, toxic control, credits and incentives, and research are also addressed.
  • The Children's School Bus Exposure Study Exit EPA Disclaimer was conducted by the California Air Resources Board to characterize the range of children's exposures to diesel vehicle-related pollutants and other vehicle pollutants during their commutes to school by diesel school buses.
  • Diesel Emissions Reduction Toolkit for Colleges/Universities, Hospitals, and Municipalities Exit EPA Disclaimer by the Northeast Diesel Collaborative links to resources addressing idle reduction, retrofit technologies, school buses, alternative fuels, construction, regulations and more.

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