Release 09-04
January 21, 2009

    Dimitri Stanich
(916) 716-8047
U.S. EPA grants ARB waiver for transport refrigeration units
Measure will protect health of trucking industry employees

SACRAMENTO: Last week, California received a waiver from U.S. EPA that allows the state to enforce regulations that cut toxic diesel emissions from tens of thousands of refrigeration units mounted on big rigs.

Concern had been raised that the late in coming waiver would not be granted and therefore the regulations would not be enforceable.

The regulations require all TRU engines on the road in California, about 40,000 at any given time, even those travelling from outside the state, have emission control technology no older than seven years. This can be achieved by the addition of new emission control mechanisms or the purchase of a new engine. For more information engine owners are encouraged to contact the ARB.

Once fully implemented in 2020, the regulation will eliminate 2,000 tons of diesel particulate matter emitted into California's air, significantly protecting the health of those that work and live around these engines. Recent research has shown that those who work around diesel engines endure the brunt of the health impacts from this exhaust.

Adopted in February 2004, these regulations are part of ARB's strategy to reduce particulate matter from diesel engines. Diesel particulate matter was listed as a toxic air contaminant in 1998 triggering a requirement to reduce public exposure. Toxic air contaminant classification are compounds found to cause or contribute to deaths or serious illness, or pose a present or potential hazard to human health. Diesel PM constitutes 70 percent of the airborne carcinogens in California's air.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.