Nearly half of Americans breathe dirty air, report finds

What is the U.S government doing to stop air pollution?

Nearly half of Americans breathe dirty air, report finds

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:34 pm

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay April 18, 2018, 11:27 AM
Nearly half of Americans breathe dirty air, report finds

Last Updated Apr 19, 2018 12:03 AM EDT

More than two of every five Americans reside in counties with unhealthy levels of smog and air pollution, thanks largely to the effect of global warming, health researchers report.

Ozone levels spiked in the United States in 2016, which was the nation's second-hottest year on record, according to the American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report, released Wednesday.

"As heat increases, ozone forms more rapidly, so we had more cities with more ozone days," said report author Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy for the lung association. "We saw a lot of evidence in 2016 of the impact that climate change and global warming is going to have on us."

Of the 25 cities with the highest ozone levels, 16 experienced an increase in high-ozone days in 2016, the report found. Many were in smog-plagued California.

However, the report also said that levels of "dirty" air pollution are decreasing in the United States, as tailpipes and smokestacks produce cleaner exhaust.

Twenty of the 25 most polluted cities experienced fewer days in 2016 when particle pollution levels spiked, the report found.

These results hint at the potentially pernicious effects of efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the Clean Air Act, Nolen said.

"Air quality would get worse in many places" if the landmark law is weakened, Nolen said. "There are a lot of subtle places where the [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] could weaken and roll back the progress we have made, and we are very concerned about that."

The report evaluated the two types of air pollution that dominate in the United States.

Ozone, or "smog," is a gas molecule that develops when nitrogen oxides or volatile organic compounds react with heat and sunlight.

"When there's a lot of pollution and it's really hot, the heat cooks the pollution so it magnifies the ozone in the atmosphere," explained Dr. Christy Sadreameli, an assistant professor of pediatric pulmonology with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Particle pollution is a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles contained in dirty exhaust from vehicles and industry. These airborne particles hamper breathing and can increase a person's risk of lung cancer, the report said.

The cities with the highest levels of ozone year-round are all in California: Los Angeles-Long Beach; Bakersfield, Visalia-Porterville-Hanford; Fresno-Madera; Sacramento-Roseville; San Diego-Carlsbad, and Modesto-Merced, according to the report.

"California has particularly struggled because of the topography -- the bowl in the middle and the mountains there on the right-hand side of the state," Nolen said. "Pollution that might normally blow into another state gets trapped in California."

Same goes for particle pollution, mostly -- Visalia-Porterville-Hanford; Bakersfield; Los Angeles-Long Beach; Fresno-Madera, and Modesto-Merced are all California cities that top the list.

But the top city for year-round particle pollution might raise some eyebrows. It's Fairbanks, Alaska, where improved air quality monitoring revealed dangerous levels of pollution.

"Fairbanks uses wood-burning stoves and wood-burning heat sources to keep themselves warm," filling the air with particulate matter from wood smoke, Nolen said.

The U.S. cities with the cleanest air include Bellingham, Wash.; Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; Casper, Wyo.; Honolulu; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla., and Wilmington, N.C.

The American Lung Association report also noted a number of Trump-led efforts that the association said could lead to worse air quality, including:

Legislation to weaken the Clean Air Act,
Repealing plans to reduce carbon pollution from power plants,
Removing limits on emissions from oil and gas operations,
Opening the door for dirtier emissions from trucks and cars.

source
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nearly-hal ... ort-finds/
----------------------------------

related
Trump administration ends EPA clean air policy opposed by fossil fuel companies

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration announced Thursday it is doing away with a decades-old air emissions policy opposed by fossil fuel companies, a move that environmental groups say will result in more pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it was withdrawing the "once-in always-in" policy under the Clean Air Act, which dictated how major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated.

Under the EPA's new interpretation, such "major sources" as coal-fired power plants can be reclassified as "area sources" when their emissions fall below mandated limits, subjecting them to differing standards.

Who pollutes the most in the U.S.? Here's a scorecard

Though formal notice of the reversal has not yet been filed, EPA said the policy it has followed since 1995 relied on an incorrect interpretation of the landmark anti-pollution law.

"This guidance is based on a plain language reading of the statute that is in line with EPA's guidance for other provisions of the Clean Air Act," said Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "It will reduce regulatory burden for industries and the states, while continuing to ensure stringent and effective controls on hazardous air pollutants."

Prior to his confirmation by the GOP-dominated Senate in November, Wehrum worked as a lawyer representing fossil fuel and chemical companies. The American Petroleum Institute was among the industry groups that had called for the longstanding policy to be scraped.

The Clean Air Act defines a "major source" as one that has the potential to emit 10 tons or more per year of any hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tons per year of any combination of hazardous air pollutants. For more than 20 years, EPA's "once-in always-in" required major sources to remain subject to stricter control standards, even if they took steps to reduce their pollution below the threshold.

Republicans quickly cheered the move by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, especially those from states that produce oil, gas and coal.

"The EPA's decision today is consistent with President Trump's agenda to keep America's air clean and our economy growing," said Senate Environment Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming. "Withdrawal of this policy means manufacturers, oil and gas operations, and other types of industrial facilities will have greater incentive to reduce emissions."

Environmentalists predicted the change would drastically weaken limits on toxic heavy metals emitted from power-plant smokestacks.

"This is among the most dangerous actions that the Trump EPA has taken yet against public health," said John Walke, the director for clean air issues at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Rolling back longstanding protections to allow the greatest increase in hazardous air pollutants in our nation's history is unconscionable."

John Coequyt, who leads climate policy initiatives for the Sierra Club, said the move will lead directly to dirtier air and more deaths.

"Trump and Pruitt are essentially creating a massive loophole that will result in huge amounts of toxic mercury, arsenic, and lead being poured into the air we breathe, meaning this change is a threat to anyone who breathes and a benefit only to dangerous corporate polluters," Coequyt said.

source
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/epa-clean- ... companies/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
User avatar
Wilberforce
 
Posts: 6093
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA

Return to American Environmental Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron