LOS ANGELES, July 27 (UPI) -- California has adopted tough new rules requiring that construction companies upgrade their diesel-powered equipment to reduce air pollution.
Scientists say 20 percent of California's diesel pollution comes from the construction industry, contributing to an estimated 1,100 premature deaths each year and more than 1,000 hospitalizations for heart and lung disease, The Los Angeles Times said Friday.
Under the new rules, companies must retrofit or replace equipment during the next 13 years. Heavy equipment can last 30 years or more, the newspaper said.
The Air Resources Board rules will cut particulate matter from construction equipment by 93 percent, reduce nitrogen oxides by more than a third and lower greenhouse gases.
"This is a very progressive rule with a lot of flexibility," said board Chairwoman Mary Nichols. "Beginning in 2010, we will be breathing far less of the smog and fine particulates that are so damaging to our health."