Diesel Exhaust

Another significant risk on American roads is diesel exhaust. Diesel exhaust is considered a likely human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it also exacerbates asthma symptoms and other pulmonary problems, particularly in children.

Approximately 24 million children ride school buses on a daily basis. Children, the most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and carcinogens generally, are the most heavily exposed to diesel exhaust when they ride the school bus every day.

American children receive exposures to diesel exhaust dozens of times higher than that considered a cancer risk by the EPA. Adding a particulate trap to catch the millions of tiny particles that might otherwise lodge in children’s developing lungs would cut the risk to our children tremendously, but bus companies have not stepped up to make the changes that could protect our children.

Baron & Budd attorneys, including Shareholder Laura Baughman and Senior Associate Thomas Sims, have sought to protect our nation’s children via cases filed in the State of California alleging violations of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 is a right-to know statute that requires companies doing business in California to inform consumers about the toxic effects of certain chemicals by placing warning labels on products or via other means. The state of California passed Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, in 1986.

In 2008, Baron & Budd successfully negotiated a settlement with school bus provider Laidlaw Transit. In the settlement Laidlaw agreed to invest a minimum of $4.7 million dollars over five years to retrofit older buses in its California fleet with air pollution control devices to reduce harmful diesel exhaust. Laidlaw also agreed to invest $23.6 million in its national fleet over seven years to either retrofit additional buses or purchase new buses that meet the most stringent air pollution standards in the country, which would ultimately protect young children from being exposed to harmful diesel exhaust.