2012 March 1. NASA RELEASE 12-064: NASA Finds Sea Ice Decline Driving Rise in Arctic Air Pollutants. Excerpt: Drastic reductions in Arctic sea ice in the last decade may be intensifying the chemical release of bromine into the atmosphere, resulting in ground-level ozone depletion and the deposit of toxic mercury in the Arctic, according to a new NASA-led study….
…The study was undertaken to better understand the fundamental nature of bromine explosions, which first were observed in the Canadian Arctic more than two decades ago. The team of scientists wanted to find if the explosions occur in the troposphere or higher in the stratosphere….
2010 March 2. Study points to high cost of polluted air. By Peter
Fimrite, SF Chronicle. Excerpt: Foul, filthy
air is wafting over California and making people sick to the tune of
almost $200 million a year in hospital expenses, according to a Rand
Corp. study released today.
The pollution is jacking up health care costs,
insurance premiums and jeopardizing the health of children, who suffer
more from asthma attacks in smoggy areas, said researchers with the
Santa Monica nonprofit policy research institute.
"It shows that the major stakeholders in the
California health care system are paying millions and millions of
dollars due to the failure to meet federal clean air standards," said
John Romley, lead author of the study and an economist at Rand. "Folks
in the Bay Area are paying for medical care in their taxes for hospital
care for people around the state."
The study, "The Impact of Air Quality on
Hospital Spending," documented 29,808 emergency room visits and hospital
admissions in the state for problems related to air pollution from 2005
The medical care provided during those visits,
which involved everything from asthma to pneumonia, cost $193 million,
about two-thirds of which was paid for by Medicare and Medi-Cal,
according to the report.
Previous studies have documented California's
failure to meet federal clean air standards, especially in the Los
Angeles basin and the San Joaquin Valley. This study, Romley said, is
the first to quantify the medical cost and show how California's dirty
air is driving up the price of both government and private insurance....
2010 February 2. Industry,
Enviro Groups Try to Sway EPA on Smog
Robin Bravender, The NY Times. Excerpt:
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Industry and environmental
groups sparred at a public hearing here
today over U.S. EPA's planned reconsideration
of the George W. Bush administration's
2008 smog standard.
Roger McClellan, who chaired the panel
of EPA science advisers during George
H.W. Bush's presidency, urged agency
Administrator Lisa Jackson to drop the
smog proposal "since the premise
on which it was advanced is flawed." The
American Petroleum Institute paid McClellan
Environmental and public health advocates,
meanwhile, warned EPA that failing to
follow through on tightening smog limits
would have devastating effects on public
health and ecosystems.
At issue is EPA's proposed strengthening
of the health-based "primary" standard
for ozone within a range of 60 to 70
parts per billion (ppb) when averaged
over an eight-hour period. The George
W. Bush administration had tightened
the limit from 84 ppb to 75 ppb in 2008,
even though its Clean Air Scientific
Advisory Committee (CASAC) had recommended
a 60 ppb to 70 ppb standard....
"Using the best science to strengthen
these standards is a long overdue action
that will help millions of Americans
breathe easier and live healthier," Jackson
said as EPA released the draft rule
2009 April 12. City
air pollution 'shortens life'. By Humphrey
Hawksley, BBC News.
Excerpt: It has taken
a quarter of a
century, but US researchers say their
work has finally enabled them to determine
to what extent city air pollution impacts
on average life expectancy.
The project tracked the change of air
quality in 51 American cities since
During that time general life expectancy
increased by more than two and half
years, much due to improved lifestyles,
diet and healthcare.
But the researchers calculated more
than 15% of that extra time was due
to cleaner air.
"We think about five months of
that is due to the improvement of air
quality," said Dr Douglas Dockery,
head of the Environmental Health Department
at Harvard School of Public Health in
Boston, which undertook the research.
He added that, due to the relatively
clean air in the US, the impact was
far larger than anticipated.
...Dr Dockery believes that if his research
was transposed onto the heavily polluted
cities of the developing world, such
as Beijing or Mexico City, the life
expectancy impact would be far greater.
"We would be talking about several
years," he said....
"We looked at fine particles that
penetrate deep in the lungs, those that
are not caught in the nose and the mouth,
and directly damage the blood vessels.
Most of those come from combustion,
from automobiles, diesel trucks and
buses and power plants."...
2009 March 16. Ozone
Linked to Deadly Lung Disease. By Emily
News. Excerpt: On
days when ozone levels
are high, breathing can be difficult
and exercising outdoors is usually
Now research shows that breathing in
the gas year in and year out can lead
to chronic and deadly lung disease.
A study of nearly half a million people
found that the risk of dying from lung
disease went up by as much as 50 percent
in cities with the highest levels of
ozone. Repeated daily exposures to even
moderate levels of ozone proved far
worse than occasional exposure to high
It is the first study to look at the
effects on the lungs of breathing in
ozone, day after day, year after year.
And it suggests that current regulations
may be missing the mark.
"The standard we have in the United
States protects you against peaks," said
George Thurston, an environmental health
scientist at New York University. "It
doesn't do anything to protect you against
cumulative long-term exposure."
...Fewer than 10 percent of the population
dies from lung disease each year. But
the effects of ozone are significant
enough to cause concern, said Douglas
Dockery, an environmental epidemiologist
at the Harvard School of Public Health
"This has very significant implications
in terms of policy-setting," Dockery
said. "The standard is really based
on what the maximum is for a given day,
but this suggests that there might be
a need for average annual limits."...
2006 February 28. Standards:
Even Approved Amount of Ozone Is Found
Harmful. By NICHOLAS BAKALAR,
NY Times. A
study sponsored by the Environmental
Protection Agency and the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
has found that air even at the E.P.A.'s
current acceptable level of ozone
- 80 parts per billion - can bring
on a significantly increased risk
of premature death. ...Ozone, the
major component of smog, ... can cause
lung damage when inhaled. By applying
statistical models to air pollution,
weather and mortality for 98 American
cities over a 14-year period, the
researchers determined that an increase
of 10 parts per billion in ozone
measured day to day causes a 0.3 percent
increase in early mortality. ...The
study ... is now online at the journal's website.
Michelle L. Bell, the lead author
on the study, said that in a city
the size of New York a 0.3 percent
increase in mortality was equivalent
to an additional 2,000 deaths a year....
16, 2003. Down
and Dirty: Airborne Ozone Can Alter Forest Soil. The
industrial pollutant ozone, long known to be harmful to
many kinds of plants, can also affect the very earth in
which they grow. Researchers at Michigan Technological University
and the North Central Research Station of the USDA Forest
Service have discovered that ozone can reduce soil carbon
formation--a measure of the amount of organic matter being
added to the soil. Their findings are published in the Oct.
16 issue of the journal Nature.
Articles from 2003–present