Children can be exposed to diesel emissions on buses, in loading zones and adjacent playgrounds, and by breathing contaminated indoor air.

Studies suggest that children who take the bus to school may spend up to 2000 hours exposed to diesel bus emissions by the time they finish high school (Equiterre). Children riding on older diesel buses are likely to experience higher exposures than kids who ride on clean-technology buses (such as electric) or on newer or retrofitted diesel buses.

Riding the bus isn’t the only source of diesel emission exposure. Children, staff and parents near bus loading and idling zones are also exposed to diesel emissions.

The ways in which buses are operated can affect exposure levels. Best practices include reducing/eliminating idling and avoiding caravanning (buses lining up in close proximity along driving routes or in loading zones).

Children and staff can also be exposed to diesel emissions indoors. If buses load, unload or idle near school air intakes, contamination of indoor air may occur.