DEEP: Diesel Monitoring Studies

Health Information

Tools for Local Health Departments

During the warmer months, Connecticut residents can experience as many as 25-30 days when the air is unhealthy to breathe due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone (or smog) and/or particulate matter. Many of the days of concern occur from May through September, when temperatures are warmer and when more residents enjoy outdoor activities. Yet air quality awareness is truly a year-round endeavor.

There are several resource tools available through DEP and the Department of Public Health (DPH) to assist local health directors in protecting children and other members of the public from air quality-related health risks, particularly asthma episodes, respiratory distress, and/or increased absenteeism from school.

Air Quality Alert Notification Service

The Air Quality Alert is a free service offered by EPA, in coordination with the DEP. This service works to notify local health directors, either by e-mail or fax, when high concentrations of ground-level ozone (the main component of smog) and/or elevated levels of particulate matter are predicted in your area.

Ground-level ozone is an air pollutant that irritates the respiratory system, causing throat irritation, coughing, and/or an uncomfortable sensation in the chest. It can also aggravate asthma; sometimes resulting in asthma attacks requiring medication or a physician's attention. Very small particles in air (referred to as PM or PM2.5) are of particular threat to children, people with respiratory or heart disease, and the elderly. These particles can be deposited deep in the lungs, where they can be trapped, increasing the likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravating heart and lung disease, and causing premature mortality. When elevated levels of particulate matter or ozone are forecasted, everyone in the affected communities should be advised to take appropriate precautions throughout the day. The Air Quality Alert system provides appropriate precautions based on the day's air quality forecast.

Because children spend so much time outside, they are at a particularly high risk to pollutants. The Air Quality Alert service informs you when unhealthy levels of air pollution may be affecting children and other sensitive populations in your area. It also allows you to advise physical education instructors and/or coaches in your town(s) to consider scheduling less strenuous outdoor activities on predicted high ozone and/or particulate days, or to alert senior centers and/or health care facilities to watch out for increased respiratory distress.

If you are interested in subscribing to this service free-of-charge, please visit

Specific air quality forecasts for Connecticut also are available from the DEP website.

Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problems in schools are a recognized public health issue. Legislation passed in 2003 requires that all schools in Connecticut adopt an IAQ program. The best and most cost effective of these is the EPA's Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) program. TfS uses a team approach to finding and correcting indoor air problems. In each school building, a group of administrators, parents, school nurses, teachers and custodians investigates and prioritizes potential indoor air hazards. Short and long-term strategies are then developed and put in place to address the identified issues.

TfS has brought a consortium of state agencies and organizations (the CT School Indoor Environment Resource Team) together to develop an outreach and training program in order to assist local school districts in implementing TfS. For assistance in helping your school district(s) adopt TfS, contact DPH at (860) 509-7742.

In addition, your support of the No-Idling Signage Program in Connecticut public schools has helped build the program to more 500 participating schools in 86 towns and school districts. If you find that public schools in your town(s) or health district have not yet requested signs, please encourage the school administrator(s) to send in the sign request form.

Working Together for a Healthier Connecticut

DEP and DPH look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you and other health professionals as we pursue our common goal of ensuring that students in your town or health district breathe a little easier. Please feel free to share this information with school administrators and other appropriate contacts within your town or health district, such as the school nurse, gym teacher, summer camp staff, and any other faculty/staff or childcare professionals that may take children outside during unhealthful ozone or particulate matter days. Please also consider sharing this information, especially that pertaining to ozone and particulate matter, with senior centers and health care/housing facilities for the ill and elderly.

Information for Local Health Directors

{PDF icon} DEP and DPH letter regarding air quality (133 KB)

{PDF icon} Commissioner McCarthy Letter regarding anti-idling (187 KB)

Diesel Studies

The scientific and environmental communities have conducted numerous diesel emissions monitoring studies.  Links to technical documents are provided below.

School Bus Monitoring Studies

NESCAUM New Haven Bus Retrofit Project (1.4 MB)

Clean Air Task Force 2005 Report

{PDF icon} University of California Riverside 2003 Fact Sheet (305 KB)

{PDF icon} University of California Riverside 2003 Executive Summary (78 KB)

{PDF icon} University of California Riverside 2003 Report (4.8 MB)

{PDF icon} NESCAUM Indoor Outdoor School Study 2002 Report (280 KB)

Environment and Human Health Inc. 2002 Report

Natural Resources Defense Council 2001 Report

Construction Monitoring Studies

{PDF icon} NESCAUM Occupational and Environmental Exposure 2003 Interim Report (489 KB)