As physicians, we have seen far too often the toll that asthma and other lung conditions take on Maine patients and their families. Asthma attacks are extremely stressful and can even be fatal. But the good news is that many asthma attacks could be prevented simply by reducing pollution and making our air healthier to breathe.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection has a significant opportunity to aid those living with asthma and improve the health of all Mainers by fully adopting the Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks rules to reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector.

Asthma is triggered by ozone and particle pollution, which are two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants. Some of the biggest contributors to ozone and particle pollution are diesel- and gasoline-powered exhaust from cars and trucks. In addition, breathing these pollutants can cause other respiratory and cardiovascular harm and early death. Breathing particle pollution can also cause lung cancer.

Asthma patients work to avoid their indoor triggers like pets and tobacco smoke, but for many vulnerable Mainers, especially those who must live or work near highways, warehouses and other diesel hot spots, avoidance of pollutants isn’t an option.

Although air pollution may seem an insurmountable problem, it’s not. Maine policymakers have the opportunity to implement two rules that, if adopted, would protect the health of Mainers. The Advanced Clean Trucks standard reduces air pollution by requiring truck manufacturers to sell increasing volumes of zero-emission trucks over time. The Advanced Clean Cars II program will clean up combustion emissions from passenger vehicles while charting a course to increasing zero-emission vehicle sales. While the current proposal for the adoption of Advanced Clean Cars II runs through 2032, we encourage the board to adopt the full Advanced Clean Cars II program, with 100% of new vehicles sold being zero-emission by 2035. Maine won’t be alone in taking these life-saving steps.

To date eight states have adopted the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, and seven have adopted the full Advanced Clean Cars II rule. Both of these rules represent a critical opportunity to advance the widespread and rapid transition to cleaner engines and zero-emission technologies. If our policymakers decide to take action, Maine could soon become a leader in reducing harmful trucking pollution and protecting public health.


According to the American Lung Association’s “Zeroing in on Healthy Air Report,” transitioning to zero-emission transportation could mean significant public health benefits in Maine, including:

• $4.5 billion in public health benefits.

• 402 avoided deaths.

• 5,870 avoided asthma attacks.

• 31,000 avoided lost workdays.

These aren’t just numbers to me – these figures represent how different life could be for the hundreds of patients I have seen over the past decades, and for the countless other families who are affected by asthma and other respiratory issues.

For many kids, implementing the Advanced Clean Trucks and Advanced Clean Cars II rule would mean that they could actually play outdoors at recess with their friends. For countless parents, it means reduced leave from work to care for their child when their asthma flares up.

My patients will always have asthma, but cleaning up the air in our community will make a world of difference in their everyday life. Right now, Maine policymakers can help the thousands of Mainers living with lung disease breathe easier by fully adopting these zero-emission rules for cars and trucks. These standards will help improve the air quality in our community and help secure clean air in communities across Maine for decades to come. This is the right move for public health, for our planet and for our children, and I encourage all Maine residents who share my concerns to join me in advocating for the adoption of both of these standards.

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