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Uncovering Diesel Pollution: Five Places Where Dangerous Diesel Particulates Hide


Santa Fe – March 21, 2007 – Are you being exposed to dangerous diesel particulate air pollution in your neighborhood without knowing it? When most people think of diesels, images of giant construction equipment or super semis belching clouds of black smoke come to mind. But did you know diesels can also be stationary engines and that they are a part of everyone’s life, residing right around the corner from you? With Earth Day 2007 soon approaching, CleanAIR Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of air pollution control systems, is informing the public on five places where dirty diesel particulates may be hiding in your community.

Recent reports by the Clean Air Task Force, Environmental Health Perspectives and The Coalition for Clean Air all detail the dangers of fine particulate matter (PM) pollution. The health impact of particulate air pollution ranges from asthma attacks and lung cancer to cardiac problems and decreased life expectancy. The World Health Organization estimates that thousands of deaths each year may be caused by exposure to PM. And the American Lung Association believes fine air-borne particulate represents our most serious health threat. Not only is particulate matter a global environmental hazard, but also a dangerous health problem.

“A substantial percentage of PM can be attributed to diesel engines, especially older ones that have not been retrofitted with the latest emissions control technology,” explains Michael Roach, CEO of CleanAIR Systems. “A very common type of diesel engine is the emergency generator used in backup situations to keep the power on. Due to their reliability, large facilities in every city of the United States depend on generators for standby power when the lights go off. Although they pollute, they are definitely a necessity.”

Do you know where diesel generators are installed in your community? In the United States alone, there are estimated to be over 100,000 industrial standby generators. Most are used on a limited basis by commercial and public facilities in case of an emergency. These generators are run periodically for routine testing and maintenance. But some facilities also use their generators as prime power to minimize peak power loads on the electrical grid. During operation diesel generators emit a variety of pollutants such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons – all of which can cause serious health issues, especially for children and older adults.

Here are five places in your town where standby generators are commonly used:

According to the American Hospital Association, there are 5,756 registered hospitals in the United States. Considered “critical facilities”, hospitals must have standby power in order to provide essential, and in many cases life-saving medical care. The necessity of backup generators at hospitals was sadly illustrated during Hurricane Katrina, when many hospitals in the area lost all power and could not tend to those too ill to be evacuated because they had ignored previous warnings over the years to install generators and electrical switching equipment.

School and College Campuses
Most college campuses and many schools rely on generators in case the power goes out during a blackout, such as the one that disrupted large areas of the Midwest and Northeast United States during the summer of 2003. According to the report “Experience with Combined Heat and Power during the August 14, 2003 Northeast Blackout,” there were 19 schools and 26 college/universities located primarily in New York and New Jersey who switched over to their own backup generators for all or part of their power needs during this period.

Sporting Events and Concerts
Large arenas and event facilities can’t afford to loose power in the middle of a NASCAR race or rock concert. What would happen if 100,000 football fans were suddenly plunged into darkness! During Super Bowl XXXIX, 35 ultra-quiet generators were used as temporary power for the half-time show and to provide power for pre-and post-game festivities – the equivalent of enough electricity to power 20,000 homes.

Water Treatment Plants
Another “critical facility”, water treatment plants are at the very core of our infrastructure. Without backup power, water treatment plants are unable to pump clean water to residents in the event of a major catastrophe. The American Water Works Association policy statement is as follows:

“Uninterrupted utility service is an operating goal of public water and wastewater utilities.”

“…when there is an electric power interruption, standby electric service facilities or capabilities should be provided. In general, two separate and independent sources of electric power should be provided to the works from either two separate substations or from a single substation and a works-based generator.”

Data Storage Centers
What would we do without our telecommunication structure? With no internet, credit card and banking services, or electronic communication our modern culture comes to a screeching halt. All data storage centers consider emergency generators to be a crucial part of doing business. The president of Hypertect Inc., a data center builder, recommends data centers have two backup generators, or in other words – a backup for their backup.

The good news is that these giant generators of technology we have come to rely on for everyday convenience and essential backup power, can be cleaned up with readily available emissions controls technology. Diesel particulate matter is virtually eliminated when an emergency generator is retrofitted with diesel particulate filters, such as those designed and manufactured by CleanAIR Systems, thereby substantially reducing the impact on health and environment.

On this Earth Day 2007, make sure your community relies on emergency generators that use emissions controls for a cleaner, healthier environment.

Established in 1993, CleanAIR Systems, Inc. located in Santa Fe, NM, is a technology-based corporation manufacturing emissions control systems with worldwide distribution. Their products are designed to control air pollution for on- and off-road vehicles, as well as stationary machinery and power generation. CleanAIR – Committed to a Cleaner Environment. For more information, visit


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