The Dirty Diesel Truck Loophole: One Nurse’s View

BY ON December 5, 2017
Nurse Kyla Nguyen and family.

Nurse, Kyla Nguyen and family.

Kyla Nguyen is a registered nurse in Northern Virginia and a family nurse practitioner student, working clinical hours at a private cardiology practice and at a mobile health site which serves the uninsured. She is the mother of two young children.

Kyla is concerned about how air pollution affects her patients’ and her family’s health. She attended an EPA public hearing this week on a proposal to allow a special class of heavy duty freight trucks to be exempt from clean air rules. These trucks, known as “glider trucks,” spew massive amounts of pollution into the air – and threaten public health.

The glider trucks loophole is just one piece of an all-out assault on public health from Pruitt’s EPA. Multiple rollbacks threaten the health and future of our kids.

Here is what Kyla had to say about her participation in the hearing:

I am here to oppose the dirty diesel trucks loophole.

I would like to talk about the people who are at risk for harm should these trucks be exempted from clean air rules.

Exposure to particle pollution can trigger arrhythmias, heart attacks, stroke, and death. Everyday I see patients who are suffering from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of mortality in the US. Last week, I saw a heart failure patient during an exacerbation of COPD. As we discussed whether she should go to the hospital, she spoke telegraphically, pausing for breath every few words. When I made a joke, she coughed violently and admonished me not to make her laugh anymore because she couldn’t breathe.

The pollution from dirty diesel engines is particularly hazardous to women and children. Particle pollution is linked to infant mortality and low birth weight. As a former post-partum nurse, I am especially troubled that the EPA is subordinating the health of women and children to the financial interests of a very few truck manufacturers.

Years ago, a professor spoke reverentially of the EPA as a defender of public health, an ally of nurses. My classmates and I believed her. Nowadays we could be forgiven some skepticism.  Scott Pruitt’s EPA has shown time and again its support for dirty tailpipes and dirty smokestacks, and disregard for EPA’s mission “to protect human health and the environment.”

This dirty diesel loophole is part of an all-out assault on public health from Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

The EPA is also taking comment on a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan—yet another attack on safeguards that help protect our families from pollution.

My family and my patients depend on the EPA for protection against toxic air pollution and the devastating effects of climate change. These rollbacks put Americans’ health at risk. As a nurse and a mom, I call on EPA to protect public health and end these rollbacks.

Thank you, Kyla, for speaking up to protect children’s health!





TOPICS: Activism, Clean Air Rules and Regulations, EPA, Vermont, Washington DC