Diesel exhaust is our No. 1 environmental justice challenge in Southern California, and the low-income communities of color living along Southern California's heavily trafficked goods movement corridors are the most heavily exposed. These “diesel death zones”—along the I-710 and 60 freeway corridors, for example—are unhealthy places in which to live, work and play, and we must address this inequity.
During his election campaign Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared that he would seek an end to diesel emissions in California by 2030 through the deployment of cleaner technologies and cleaner cars and trucks. This is a public health and environmental justice IMPERATIVE, and it is the core objective of our Vision 2020 plan, because:
- California has declared diesel exhaust a toxic air contaminant and a primary cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking.
- Long-term exposure to diesel exhaust increases the risk of lung cancer. More.
- Diesel particle levels in California's air could cause 540 "excess" cancers (beyond the number that would occur if there were no diesel particles in the air) in a population of 1 million people over a 70-year lifespan.
- Numerous studies have linked elevated particle levels in the air to increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits, asthma attacks and premature deaths among those suffering from respiratory problems.
- Exposure to diesel exhaust can have immediate health effects: It can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and can cause coughs, headaches, light-headedness and nausea.
- Diesel pollutants are known to reduce lung capacity, increase risk for asthma, reduce IQs, and even cause aggressive behaviors in youth.
Read more about our Vision 2020 plan HERE.