The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

CLEAN MY R.I.D.E. (REDUCE INHALATION OF DIESEL EXHAUST) PHASE 1: ASSESSMENT OF DIESEL PARTICULATE EXPOSURE IN SCHOOL CHILDREN

Kathleen Hernlen, Randall Baker, Emily Duncan, Jennifer Elliott, Chi Chi Ibeto, Sheena Jordan; Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA

Background: Between September 2006 and 2008 six children under 14 years of age residing in the Augusta, Georgia area were reported to have died from asthma. The asthma death rate in Richmond County (Augusta) was significantly higher than the state and national pediatric asthma death rates during this time. Approximately 22,000 students (66.61%) in the Richmond County school system are transported by bus each day. Buses at many of the schools in Richmond County have been observed idling while waiting for students to be dismissed from school. The Clean My R.I.D.E program was developed to reduce inhalation of diesel exhaust by school-aged children in Richmond County by raising awareness about increased exposure to environmental particulate during bus idling. Phase one of this study assessed the current exposure to environmental particulates with current bus policies in place. Method: We assessed particulate counts (<2 um) using a Met One 237B Portable Airborne Particle Counter. Counts were collected in the bus loading areas at five schools in Richmond County prior to, during, and after school dismissal. The counts were taken on three different days for each school during August and September, 2008. Results: Baseline counts varied for each day due to weather conditions, wind direction and velocity, and environmental conditions, such as the grass being mowed during or prior to school dismissal. Factors that contributed to increase peak counts included: amount of time buses and older model cars idled, number of buses arriving and departing, and the configuration of the bus loading zone. One school demonstrated a 153% increase above mean during bus loading. The configuration of this bus zone required students to walk through these particulates to board buses. In one case an idling car increased the < 2 um particulate count 684% from a mean of 127,390 particulates/minute to 1,000,000 particulates/minute. Conclusion: Bus idling increases exposure to respirable particulate, especially when the configuration of the bus zones requires that students walk through diesel exhaust. Grass should be mowed at times when students are not attending school. “No idling” policies should be adapted to decrease the amount of particulate to which children are exposed. The Richmond County Board of Education has now adapted a No Bus Idling Policy. Sponsored Research - East Central Health District of Georgia

Results of Phase One

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