Quotes from National Health and Medical Organizations in Response to EPA’s Final Cleaner Trucks Standards

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new rule that will place stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles. In response to the new limits, leadership of several national health and medical organizations shared the following quotes: 

  • Brian Campbell, PhD, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility
    • “PSR is pleased to see EPA's updated greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles finalized today. The transportation sector has long been a massive source of climate pollution, environmental injustice, and negative health impacts. Trucks, especially those that run on diesel fuel, pose a serious threat to low-income communities and communities of color who have historically been burdened with polluting, industrial development that requires and attracts diesel truck traffic. The emissions from diesel trucks and buses are known to increase risk of prenatal harms like preterm birth and low birthweight, lead to new and worsening cases of childhood asthma and damage brain, lung, and cardiovascular development. These new, stronger standards will be lifesaving, particularly for the 72 million Americans on the frontlines of trucking routes. We thank the EPA for their diligence in prioritizing health and cleaning up transportation pollution.
  • Robin Cooper, MD, President, Climate Psychiatry Alliance
    • “As psychiatrists and physicians who focus on mental health, we are acutely aware of the significant damage that air pollutants cause to the brain, to mental functioning and mood. Heavy-duty trucks are a major contributor to the toxic air we breathe by spewing particulate matter as well as contributing to greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change. Communities adjacent to major truck routes are paying the toll for emissions and driving the disparities in health impacts. Children and elderly are uniquely adversely impacted. We therefore celebrate this new rule on emission reduction of trucks.  This is one big step to creating cleaner air and protections for our communities and patients.”
  • Katie Huffling, DNP, RN, CNM, FAAN, Executive Director, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
    • “While trucks are a small portion of total vehicles on-road, they generate the greatest share of harmful air pollutants. Pollution from trucks contains toxic and harmful compounds that pollute air quality and harm public health. EPA’s action today is a critical step to clean up emissions from the transportation sector which translates into lives saved, asthma attacks prevented, and much more. The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments applauds the EPA for its final heavy-duty vehicle standards - it’s a critical win for public health.”
  • Kenneth Mendez, President and CEO, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
    • “Transportation-related emissions are a leading contributor to air pollution. Polluted air from these emissions irritates the lungs of people who have asthma and makes their asthma worse. This pollution also accelerates climate change by trapping warm air in the atmosphere. When temperatures are warmer and air pollution is high, studies have shown that there are more emergency room visits from asthma attacks. By reducing emissions from heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses, the EPA’s new rule will improve the quality of life for the 27 million people in the United States with asthma.”
  • Lynda Mitchell, CEO, Allergy & Asthma Network
    • “Vehicle emissions are a significant contributor to air pollution worldwide and they impact respiratory health. Truck exhaust emissions, which include gases such as carbon dioxide and fine particulate matter, can be powerful asthma triggers when inhaled. They affect breathing and lung function, especially in children, and can reduce life span. Many people live in areas where pollution levels make the air dangerous to breathe and create a barrier to asthma management. The best solution is to reduce truck emissions. We are pleased to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set strong standards on vehicle emissions, with the goal of improving air quality and public health.”
  • Lisa Patel, MD, MESc, FAAP, Executive Director, Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health 
    • “As a pediatrician, I believe the heavy-duty vehicle standard from EPA is something to celebrate. I’ve seen firsthand the health impacts of particulate matter. Children are particularly vulnerable to this pollution, which causes low-birth weight, asthma, respiratory infections, and chronic respiratory diseases down the line. Diesel pollutants from trucks can also impair the brain development of young children. No child should unjustly bear the health harms of this pollution, and all children deserve clean air. I thank the Administration for their leadership on this important climate and health equity issue.”
  • Joan Schiller, MD, Chair, Steering Committee of Oncology Advocates United for Climate and Health International 
    • Emissions from heavy-duty trucks spew particulate matter, which causes lung cancer, a debilitating and largely fatal disease. Air pollution is responsible for about 14% of lung cancers worldwide, even in people who have never smoked. As oncology health professionals and advocates, we thank the administration for the passage of rules to reduce air pollution and protect our communities.
  • Harold Wimmer, President & CEO, American Lung Association
    • “Today’s rule to help clean up pollution from heavy-duty trucks is a public health victory, especially for the 72 million Americans living in close proximity to heavy trucking corridors. This rule will make a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gases driving climate change, and will reduce other pollutants at the same time, including fine particle pollution. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles represent approximately six percent of the on-road fleet as of 2020, but generate 59 percent of ozone- and particle-forming NOx emissions and 55 percent of the particle pollution. The American Lung Association is thrilled by today’s action to help protect people across the country from deadly truck pollution.”
For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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