EPA goes after lawn mower fumes

A grounds crewman on a John Deere mower


Bob Moon: If you use a lawn mower, Jet Ski or power generator, a new federal rule is aimed at you. It requires most garden equipment and recreational vehicles on the market to have cleaner burning engines by 2011. Rachel Dornhelm reports on what this means for consumers.

Rachel Dornhelm: They may be small engines but they are big polluters.

Frank O'Donnell: On a summer day, these engines can produce up to 10 percent or more of the smog-forming pollution in urban areas.

That's Frank O'Donnell with Clean Air Watch. He says the new technology should be an economic wash for consumers. You may pay, say, $17 more for a lawn mower, but will pay $18 less to fuel the more efficient engine over time. And then, there are health care savings. The EPA's Bill Charmly says the new products could result in $4 billion in health care savings annually.

Bill Charmly: Respiratory illnesses, increased mortality rates, hospital visits, asthma attack increases, so this program will help reduce all of those impacts.

Charmly expects equipment operators will see the biggest health benefits.

In San Francisco, I'm Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.


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