Coughing Up Fumes!

schoolbusBy Yvonne Gonzalez

Cough! Cough! Cough!

Every once in a while I used to miss the school bus just as I was getting to the corner of my street where I was supposed to pick it up.  What can I say? I had a knack for not really being on time to be picked up.  Instead I would get there just as the bus pulled away, blasted with exhaust fumes and I’d begin coughing after breathing some in. As I grew up, I wondered about those exhaust fumes because I not only saw it trailing school buses, but public buses and big rigs that used diesel fuel.

I had no idea how much pollution was released or its effects until I read the “Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up”.   It’s all about a magic school bus that takes a group of students on different adventures that explore the world, except in the book they realize that the bus pollutes the air when it’s used.

The characters in the book, Ms.Frizzle (the science teacher) and her students, learn about pollution, idle reduction and other ways to reduce health risks from diesel exhaust.  At the end of the story, the Magic School Bus is retrofitted with its own pollution control device, a diesel particulate-matter filter.

It gets better.  With the EPA’s help, the book’s publisher retrofitted a school bus that offers hands-on science lessons on air pollution to kids.

To get more information, go to:

Yvonne Gonzalez recently finished an internship with the Air and Radiation Division in Chicago.  She currently works at EPA in Washington, DC in the Chemicals Control Division.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.