TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Halloween is here and with trick-or-treaters on our streets, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Air Program suggests that instead of letting your vehicle engine idle while the kids are moving from house to house, consider parking and walking to keep the air free from health-damaging vehicle emissions.
Exhaust from idling vehicles is not good for anyone to breathe, particularly the lungs of young superheroes, princesses and zombies. Although invisible, vehicle exhaust can contain poisonous gases and chemicals including carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, benzene and soot. Breathing these fumes is particularly harmful for children because their lungs are not fully developed and they tend to be more active and breathe more rapidly than adults, inhaling more of the toxic gases.
Studies have linked various negative health outcomes in children exposed to vehicle pollution including:
• Reduced lung function
• Respiratory infection
• Decreased cognitive performance
• Asthma and chronic respiratory symptoms
If you are going to be idling your vehicle for more than a short period, turn your engine off (except in traffic). Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more greenhouse gases than turning off and restarting the engine. You will also protect your car’s engine if you idle less because idling can cause damage to engine parts like cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system.
No matter if you are waiting for your favorite unicorn on Halloween or stopping by a fast food restaurant or bank, avoiding engine idling will help keep the air from getting scary to breathe.
For more information, visit the idle reduction page at www.pima.gov/deq.