Truck Pollution at U.S.-Mexico Border Is Killing Kids, Study Says

Hundreds of kids have died and tens of thousands have been hospitalized in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just south of the U.S. border, because of respiratory illnesses seemingly caused by air pollution, according to a five-year study released yesterday by the environmental watchdog group created under a side agreement to NAFTA. Heavy truck traffic related to increased trade seems to be to blame; in 2001, more than a million trucks crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas. Between 1997 and 2001 in Ciudad Juarez, respiratory illnesses led to more than 36,000 emergency room visits by children under the age of 5 and to the deaths of 231 infants under the age of 1. “The current strategy for globalization of trade means more and more trucks on the road,” said Elizabeth May, head of the Sierra Club of Canada. She called for stricter pollution controls on trucks and a shift to rail transport.