We are doing our best to hold on to those few summer days left but its inevitable that many will be immersed in the Back-to-School craze that looms ahead. As we continue to think of ways to improve the quality of our homes and neighborhoods in-and-out of Harlem, its important that community members hold schools and districts responsible for providing safe and healthy environments for students, teachers and staff members of the school system.
Air pollution, which has a tremendous impact on respiratory illnesses, is a concern of many parents as many students must commute to school by foot, train or school buses. A typical diesel engine emits over 40 toxic substances, including fine particles that can cause lung damage and increase the possibility of developing respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis or asthma. The Office of Pupil Transportation has the task of providing and enforcing safe environments for New York City’s students. A major concern of many schools is the dirty exhaust emitted from school buses.
There are approximately 6,700 school buses in the New York Metropolitan area. A large number of school buses still in use were made before 1990 and do not have the emission protection equipment more modern buses have. With grant programs, many New York City buses are now being upgraded, or retrofitted, for emission-controlled technology and fuel systems. In addition to diesel particle filters, New York City has established a no idling policy in many districts across the city to help keep school-yard air quality at healthy levels.
In 2008, New York City received $7.8 millions towards air quality and traffic related projects. Help protect your neighborhood schools by supporting emission reduction programs.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
New York City has always been center stage on the issues. Currently, an environmental case is taking place that can have tremendous affects on environmental policy for years to come. Environmental advocates have filed a lawsuit against Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Church and Dwight and Reckitt-Benckiser in a right-to-know case. The argument of the case is that many household chemicals do not properly warn of dangerous toxins to consumers. Environmental advocates are primarily concerned with people being informed of potential health risks these products pose. The case was scheduled to open July 23, 2009, but has been pushed back to October 15th.
New York state laws already require manufacturers to disclose information about chemical ingredients and the risks they pose to consumers. However this is a commonly overlooked law as chemical companies are asked specifically to state this information in their annual reports. Not many other states even have a law like this, which is it seems that New York City will have another opportunity to set trends, now in the environment. This is a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that could move other groups in other states across the nation to fight for the same rights to information.
Do you have any stories that you think are related to household chemicals problems?