Soot standards improve air

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Soot standards improve air

Postby Wilberforce » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:16 pm

Soot standards improve air
9 hours ago • By Kim Davitt

Most of us don’t need to look far to find someone we know and love who has lung disease. Perhaps it's a grandmother with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or a child with asthma.

For all of these people, particle pollution makes breathing even more difficult. On days when air is bad, those with COPD may need supplemental oxygen. People with asthma may need to take extra medicine and stay indoors. Poor air quality days can send those with lung diseases to emergency rooms. Even in Montana's Big Sky, there are days in some of our communities when it's hard to catch a breath.

A long-awaited proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would provide some much-needed relief by setting stronger limits on airborne particles, or “soot.’’ Sources of particle pollution include diesel exhaust, wood smoke, fly ash and coal-fired power plants.

The proposed limits, called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, ensure that everyone in the nation is protected based on the most current public health science. The EPA proposes to update the standards for particle pollution because the existing ones no longer reflect the current research. In fact, these standards now provide a false sense of security for those living in

communities that meet them.

Particle pollution — a highly toxic blend of soot, metals, acids, dirt and aerosols — kills. Multiple, long-term, multi-city studies conducted in the U.S. and internationally give some of the strongest evidence that particle pollution can shorten life.

These and other studies show that even modest spikes in soot levels can send children, older adults, people with diabetes and those with lung and heart diseases to the emergency room or hospital. We now have ample, well-vetted scientific evidence that confirms thousands of deaths, not to mention heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks could be prevented every year if the standards were strengthened.

A 2011 analysis, published in a report called Sick of Soot, concluded that adopting an annual standard of 11 g/m3 and a daily standard of 25 g/m3, would lead to the cleanup of pollution that would spare as many as 35,700 lives every year. Meeting those standards would also prevent 1.4 million asthma attacks, and more than 23,000 emergency room and hospital visits.

Particle pollution has been linked to permanent lung tissue and airway damage, low birth weight, and lung cancer, in addition to its ability to cut lives short. Those most vulnerable among us suffer the most, and need the EPA to act swiftly by setting a standard that protects public health.

Children especially need EPA’s protection, as their lungs are still developing and will not stop growing until they reach early adulthood. We’re now seeing that the lungs of young people who grow up exposed to unhealthy levels of soot and air pollution often do not develop as they should, which can cause a lifetime of respiratory ailments.

Others paying a higher physical cost for breathing soot pollution are lower-income families. They frequently live in communities or work where air pollution, often from nearby smokestacks or crowded freeways, exceeds safe levels. A more protective standard will ensure that the sources that pollute their homes will have to clean up.

As we have seen since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, big polluters can be counted on to continue to try to thwart any healthy air advances that may require them to clean up. They like to say that the

evidence is lacking. The fact is, we have roughly 10,000 studies all pointing to the need for more protection for everyone from particle pollution.

We have a chance to set the record straight and tell EPA that we want more protection from this lethal pollutant.

The EPA can and must set more protective particle pollution standards. However, without strong public support, the present, unhealthy standards will remain and the people we know who have lung disease, and millions more like them, will continue to suffer.

- Kim Davitt is the Initiatives Manager for the American Lung Association in Montana.

source ... 963f4.html

Polluting fireplaces just the beginning
By Michael Hartranft / Journal Staff Writer on Mon, Aug 13, 2012

Ronald Allred, president of Adherent Technologies, checks out an outdoor wood-burning boiler. These heavily polluting devices are used to heat homes in some northern parts of the country. Photo Credit – Jim Thompson/Journal

Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal

The demand for a promising device that effectively removes fireplace pollution has yet to pan out the way the company that created it envisioned.

But Albuquerque-based Adherent Technologies is forging ahead with new applications using the same technology – and from a technical standpoint, they, too, are highly effective.

Adherent spinoff Clear Skies Unlimited introduced the HearthCAT Emission Control System device for wood-burning fireplaces several years ago, winning a prestigious Clean Air Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 along the way.

A hood insert installed in the middle of a fireplace, the quick-to-install $500 device contains ceramic catalysts that remove pollutants as smoke is forced through them. Tests showed the ostensibly “can’t miss” product could reduce particulate emissions by up to 90 percent.

“Our expectation was people were going to jump all over these things, but that didn’t happen,” said Ron Allred, Adherent president and CEO, who has said the product was inspired by Albuquerque’s no-burn nights to meet federal air regulations.

Two factors seemed to have been at work, he said.

Regulations and housing slump

“Regulations aren’t in place requiring it, but that’s changing,” he said. “In 2013, new regulations in California air districts are going to require clean-burning fireplaces and there’s very few ways to get that without our product. So we are expecting things to turn up.

“The other thing that affected that was the slump in housing starts,” Allred said. “I think that will come back slowly.”

In addition, he said, the EPA has just issued its Phase II fireplace retrofit rules, “which should lead to a lot of future sales.”

The company, in the meantime, has continued moving forward with other applications for the device, called a catalytic combustor, and setting the stage to further expand its market.

“What we’re doing is taking that basic technology and just modifying it,” Allred said.

The company is currently working with the EPA under a $300,000 Small Business Innovative Research Phase 2 contract to use the technology to clean up pollution from outdoor wood boilers. Though not very common in New Mexico, the boilers are widely used in northern states, numbering well over 500,000.

“They’re a big fire box with a water jacket around it and you load in 100 pounds of firewood in the morning,”Allred said. “It heats that water and circulates it through your house or business and that’s your source of heat.”

Target: 80% reduction

“But those things put out an enormous amount of pollution,” he said.

Adherent, which started the project with an $80,000 Phase 1 SBIR contract, had to re-engineer the exhaust on the test boiler to install the combustor.

“We saw like a 60 percent reduction (in pollution) when we first tried it,” Allred said. “Now we have this new EPA contract just to see if we can do better than that… Our target is probably a 75 to 80 percent reduction.”

Allred said Adherent has already done demonstrations in Maine, Illinois and Alaska. “So we’re expecting regulations to come into play with those,” he said.

The company is also wrapping up SBIR Phase 1 contract with the EPA testing the combustor on oil-fired burners, which also are rare in New Mexico.

“In fact, we had to buy one and have it shipped in to do our testing,” Allred said. “Back east, oil-fired boilers are how they heat apartments in New York City and they put out a lot of pollution. You’ve seen the black stuff running down the walls of New York City? That’s where it comes from.”

He said there already are several programs to replace some types of oil-fired boilers. “But if we could come up with a retrofit that will clean up the pollution, the cost differential is probably a factor of 10 as opposed to replacing the whole thing, he said. “So that’s what we’re after.”

The manufacturing side

Ideally, Adherent would like to see its devices built into the boilers by the manufacturers. But there are some “politics” at play. One of the largest manufacturers of wood boilers, for instance, won’t admit its product pollutes, Allred said.

“So … there’s a barrier there we have trouble getting through,” he said. “But we’ll move there.”

On still another front, Adherent was one of two companies whose products were selected for more testing at the University of California-Riverside under a program funded by the state’s air quality districts to reduce pollution from smoke and grease released from restaurant grills.

“I have a video where they’re cooking 100 hamburgers at a time and they’re putting out lots of smoke,” Allred said, with a laugh. “That should lead to a whole family of products for restaurants eventually.”

The catalytic combustors represent a fraction of the products developed by Adherent over the past 22 years, most of them under contracts with government agencies.

Business, in general, has slowed the past couple of years because of the poor economy, Allred said, with attrition reducing the staff level to about 12, or roughly half of what it was three years ago.

The company recently has worked with NASA on a project to make lightweight I-beams for making structures in space, on Mars, for example.

“These are part of the family of inflatable space structures,” he said. “So you would blow them out and expose them to light and harden them.”

It is also working on a project developing ways to cure carbon and glass fiber combinations as well as Kevlar and glass combinations that would give NASA “another tool for making structures in space.”

Looking ahead, Allred said he hopes the company can move into more commercial ventures.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of technology on the shelf here that I’d really like to see people be using,” he said.

source ... nning.html
• 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!
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