JUNE 23,2000 TESTIMONY ON AIR POLLUTION
I testified at the EPA New York hearing yesterday on sulfur in diesel fuel as
an expert witness on the composition, toxicity and human health effects of
diesel exhaust. New diesel engines emit a very toxic and for the most part
unknown pollutant. It is very fine particles called ultrafine particles. These
particles are invisible, practically weightless, and remain airborne for a
week. They cause lung inflammation and respiratory disease. They are expected
to cause asthma.
Low sulfur diesel fuel and catalytic afterburners on diesel vehicles will
remove the ultrafine particles from the exhaust. The new EPA regulations to
limit sulfur in motor fuels to 15 ppm are very important to reducing diesel
exhaust pollution and must be supported.
The asthma epidemic in our country and all industrialized countries is driven
by air pollution. Fine and ultrafine particles are a major cause of asthma.
Other well known air pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and formaldehyde
also are contributors.
Until we as individuals and a nation demand cleaner air the asthma epidemic and
deaths will continue.