Idlewilde was New Yorks go-to airport until 1963 (its now JFK). Idle hands may be the devils workshop. And Eric Idle and the rest of Monty Python are getting active again. But have you thought about the idle threat that moms and dads make when they line up in their cars for Pick-up-N-Go at schools across the country?
Idling cars can cause a lot of health problems for kids, exposing them to densely polluted air from car exhaust and triggering coughing, asthma and bronchitis. One idling car emits 20 times more pollution than a car traveling at 32 mph! And it spews ozone, sulfur, dioxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and more.
The benefits of cleaning up schoolyard air were pretty clear when Washington state retired smoke-spewing school buses or retrofitted them with natural gas. They saw a 30 percent drop in kids visits to the emergency room for asthma and bronchitis. Now educators and parents in some locales are realizing that its up to them to clear the polluted air from idling cars in their schoolyards, too. But more parents, administrators and kids need to tune in to turning off the idling engines.
So now as Monty Python says for something completely different, your school can:
Æ Create classroom science projects on exhaust pollutions health hazards and have kids tally the number of idling cars and the length of time they idle.
Æ Create a pledge letter for parents to sign, promising to turn off their car after 10 seconds in line.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.