RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP ON EMISSIONS HELPS PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH
Cummins’ partnerships to address emissions regulations go back many years.
In 1977, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended the Clean Air Act to place new controls on diesel emissions and the industry was challenged to adapt to the unprecedented regulation.
At the time, very little was known about the effects of diesel emissions on health. In response to the EPA’s new regulation, then Cummins Chairman and CEO Henry Schacht decided to form a consortium of experts and interested parties to objectively and independently study the health effects of diesel emissions.
Guided by the belief that all of society benefits from objective and rigorous science, Schacht brought the engine and vehicle industries together with then EPA Administrator Doug Costle in 1980 to form the Health Effects Institute (HEI). Funded jointly by the EPA and industry, HEI is a non-partisan and not-for-profit organization committed to providing high-quality, impartial, and relevant science regarding the effects of air pollution on health.
HEI has funded more than 250 studies in North America, Europe, and Asia, producing important research on carbon monoxide, air toxics, nitrogen oxides, diesel exhaust, ozone, particulate matter, and other pollutants. The institute’s work has been published in over 200 research and special reports.
Thirty-five years after the creation of the institute, Cummins’ partnership with HEI is just as strong as it was at the institute’s creation. As it has grown, HEI’s work has continued to investigate health effects in anticipation of regulation. Cummins relies on the institute as a trusted source of information when working with regulators worldwide to create clear, responsible and enforceable emission standards.
“In the inimitable words of Henry Schacht, ‘facts are friendly,’” said Brian Mormino, Cummins Executive Director of Worldwide Environmental Strategy and Compliance. “We aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions.
Our currency is credibility and credible health effects science is the bedrock of good regulations.”
The institute posed some tough questions in a recent study that was the first to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of lifetime exposure to exhaust from new technology diesel engines (NTDE). It found no evidence of carcinogenic lung tumors. The Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) also confirmed that the concentrations of particulate matter and toxic air pollutants emitted from NTDE are more than 90 percent lower than emissions from traditional older diesel engines (TDE).
“This study is significant because it is the culmination of 30 years of technology development to clean diesel exhaust,” said Cummins’ Rich Wagner, Director of Global Product Certification and Compliance.
Cummins’ relationship with HEI is mutually beneficial; the Company often provides technical consultation and guidance to HEI studies. For example, Cummins served on the working group for the lifetime exposure study and helped identify the study’s measurement techniques of emissions levels that are also used in Cummins’ own research and development of emissions technology.
“The lung tissue samples that showed clean results are really a credit to the engineers who were able to bring emissions levels down so low,” said Dan Greenbaum, HEI President, during a health effects panel discussion hosted by Cummins in February 2015.
Even as improvements have been made to diesel emissions, air quality continues to be a serious challenge in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization, urban outdoor air pollution is estimated to cause 3.1 million premature deaths per year worldwide.
To reflect this reality, HEI has expanded its research in India and China where ambient particulate matter pollution is the fourth largest disease burden causing premature death and in large cities like Beijing where vehicle emissions are the largest source of dangerous particulate matter.
Other strategic topics for HEI include studying the health effects of biofuels, the toxicity of gas direct injection in passenger vehicles (GDI), and examining the impact of traffic and port emissions on health.