Diesel Pollution

A threat to your health

Every year, diesel-powered vehicles and heavy equipment emit thousands of tons of pollution in Illinois. This black diesel exhaust not only looks and smells toxic it is toxic. Diesel exhaust contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants, carcinogens, ozone-forming compounds ("smog") and fine particulate matter ("soot"). Exposure to fine particles alone is known to cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, lung cancer, strokes and even premature death.

In Illinois, it is estimated that diesel exhaust triggers more than 20,000 asthma attacks, causes more than 680 heart attacks and leads to approximately 570 premature deaths each year. Although diesel pollution is unhealthy for everyone, children, seniors, occupational workers and people who live with lung disease are especially at risk.

To find out the diesel risk in your area, click here.


Fortunately, cleaner fuels and pollution controls are available today that can reduce diesel pollution by more than 90 percent.

Illinois Campaign to Clean Up Diesel Pollution

The coalition of more than 100 public health, environmental, labor and community organizations is led by Respiratory Health Association and Citizen Action/Illinois. Together, the organizations are working to reduce diesel pollution in Illinois by:


Campaign victories

For a list of our campaign victories, click here

How you can help

  • Sign up for E-Advocacy to learn more about our ongoing advocacy efforts and how you can help improve the lung health of your community.

For more information, visit the Air Quality Library