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: http://epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/msb-book.htm

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.

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