Chicago Mothers for Clean Air sign now

121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

Re: Support for a Clean Construction Ordinance

As mothers from across Chicago, we urge the city to enact a "clean construction" ordinance that will combat the very real health threats facing our children and neighbors from diesel engines.

Diesel pollution is a serious public health issue. The exhaust from bulldozers, trucks, buses, and other engines contains over 40 toxic air contaminants, carcinogens, ozone-forming elements, and fine particulate matter ("soot"). Exposure to fine particles is known to cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, lung cancer, strokes, and even premature death.

In Metropolitan Chicago alone, it's estimated that diesel fine particles cause 755 deaths (65 from cancer), 1,021 heart attacks, 476 cases of chronic bronchitis, and over 17,000 asthma-attacks annually. In addition, asthma rates among women rose 97 percent. The time to act is now.

Cleaning up construction equipment emissions is a vital strategy to protect Chicagoans from the dangers of diesel exhaust. Construction equipment is a major source of diesel pollution; nationally, over 2 million pieces of construction equipment are in use and most lack any pollution controls.

However, both cleaner diesel fuel and pollution control technologies are available right now. Commercial emission controls called diesel particulate filters (DPFs), combined with the use of widely available ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD), can eliminate over 90 percent of fine particles from a heavy-duty truck or piece of construction equipment.

The "clean construction" ordinance would require all City of Chicago contractors working on public construction projects with budgets of $2 million or more to use this ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) and pollution controls on their diesel vehicles and equipment.

The use of these devices is necessary to protect the health of City residents and workers alike. Promoting strategies to clean up construction equipment will play a vital role in ensuring that everyone can safely breathe the air in Chicago.

On behalf of the signed mothers below, we urge the city to begin cleaning up diesel construction equipment by passing a "clean construction" ordinance now.

Cc: Honorable Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago
Ms. Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Environment

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