They�re tired and cranky. They have a hard time concentrating in class. They can�t join the football team or the band, or take the most difficult classes.
Students, parents and teachers told the Gazette-Mail that long bus rides take a toll on children�s health, academics and social lives.
Riding a bus may be hazardous to your child�s health, according to three studies released in the past year:
A Yale University study found that diesel bus fumes may be to blame for the dramatic rise in childhood asthma in the United States. Students who ride buses breathe five to 15 times more particulate soot than children playing outside.
A National Resource Defense Council-Coalition for Clean Air report concluded that children who ride buses are exposed to diesel exhaust at levels dozens of times higher than levels considered to be a significant cancer risk under Environmental Protection Agency and federal guidelines.
The Union of Concerned Scientists found that schoolchildren in every state were needlessly exposed to toxic air pollutants. Students with the longest rides over many years, and children who sat on buses while they idled, were most at risk.
Every day, thousands of West Virginia students with long rides must wait on idling buses for five to 20 minutes at transfer points.
The buses belch diesel exhaust. The kids breathe it in.
�The issue with children is they are particularly vulnerable,� said Patricia Monahan, senior transportation analyst with the Union for Concerned Scientists. �They have young lungs that are still developing. And they breathe at higher rates than adults. For children on more than an hour, it�s a significant source of pollution for them.�
Children with long bus rides also can suffer from social, family and academic problems, studies found.