Vehicle fumes you breathe can cause heart problems, severe breathing conditions, and can harm unborn babies. Breathing high levels of nitrogen oxide, or NOx, like those that come from a truck’s tail pipe, on a daily basis will increase your chance of respiratory problems. “NOx can cause asthma, heart disease, and worsening of current lung problems such as emphysema,” said Dr. Marilyn Howarth, an Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician working with the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is taking some steps to try to reduce the nitrogen oxide within the state. Gov. Tom Wolf announced new Driving PA forward grants and rebates program funded by the $118 million settlement with Volkswagen Group of America to improve air quality in Pennsylvania. The grants will pay to replace older polluting diesel engines and increase the availability of electric charging stations, hoping to encourage more electric vehicle use, according to state officials. “We encourage businesses to switch to cleaner alternatives and be the driving force behind cleaner air in the commonwealth,” said Patrick McDonnell, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary. Howarth explained that these grants will not only reduce NOx but also the particulates in diesel exhaust by funding newer and cleaner engines. “The driving PA forward grant and rebate programs will help to decrease asthma and heart disease risk in local communities,” said Howarth.
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