Hundreds of thousands of workers who operate and work around non-road diesel equipment, such as bulldozers and farm tractors, are being exposed to dangerous concentrations of toxic diesel soot and other emissions according to a study released this week.

The study, by Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), was released one day before a public hearing in New York City on a proposed EPA rule that would, for the first time, regulate the emissions from non-road diesel engines. NESCAUM is an interstate association of state government air quality control agencies in the Northeast states.

EPA officials will not make a final decision on whether to implement the proposed regulations until after a comment period ends in August. According to EPA's estimates, the regulations would prevent 9,600 premature deaths, over 8,300 hospitalizations and almost a million lost workdays by 2030.

According to OSHA, more than one million workers who are exposed to diesel exhaust face the risk of adverse health effects ranging from headaches to cancer and respiratory diseases.