How does the air quality near a construction zone compare to an area farther away from construction?



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    Poorly. Construction sites are a major contributor to air pollution, mainly because of the high number of diesel-powered vehicles that congregate around them, often idling or moving only short distances. The US Environmental Protection Agency has a new program called Clean Construction USA which aims to improve the emissions standards of construction sites. Although construction equipment is subject to EPA rules for emissions, those only apply to newly-manufactured items, and construction equipment can last 20 or 30 years. In addition to diesel emissions, construction sites can be areas of high particulate concentrations such as dust from the ground or from construction materials being used. (Drywall installers in particular are urged to wear face masks and other protective equipment because of the potentially carcinogenic materials in drywall dust that can be easily inhaled on a construction project). Many localities have emissions and air quality standards that must be met before the green light is given for a construction project in the first place.

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