Air Quality

Air Pollution Toxicology: My Struggle for Realistic Exposures

The link between air pollution exposure and its health effects is uncovered by epidemiologists and toxicologists working in concert. Epidemiologists investigate statistical associations between air pollution exposure and morbidity and mortality.

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"The bigger story is climate change"

December 12, 2019

Air Quality Research Center Director, Tony Wexler, spoke with Mark Kaufman of Mashable about the smoke and poor air quality in Sydney from the Australia fires. Sydney's pollution levels were more than 11 times the hazardous level. 

In his article, Sydney, engulfed in smoke, has a ghastly air quality problem, Kaufman shares:

PM 2.5 increased by 5.5% in 2 years across the country after a 7 year decrease of 25%

October 28, 2019

The New York Times writer, Nadja Popovich, reports that after nearly a decade of improving the air quality nationally, the US EPA's data shows that PM 2.5 has increased in the past two years. This 180 turn of progress has been identified as likely primarily coming from increases in driving and the burning of natural gas. However, in the West, wildfires has been a large cause of the increase as well. Researchers suggest that due to a decrease of enforcement of the Clean Air Act, less businesses are concerned with their pollution. 

Understanding the health risks from the smoke and ash of Butte County's Camp Fire

August 12, 2019

In Paradise, many families are still combing through the wreckage of the 2018 Camp Fire that burned over 150,000 acres. Camille Von Kaenel of the Chico Enterprise-Record in her article "Residents still trying to understand Camp Fire contamination at standing homes" writes,

Parents Fear Kids at Risk From Dangerous Dust at Silicon Valley School

July 18, 2019

A new school next to a concrete plant in Silicon Valley poses a serious health risk to the children and adults there. 

The National Institutes of Health and several other federal agencies, including OSHA, CDC and the EPA have reported on the health hazards of dust from concrete manufacturing facilities. Ultra-fine particles in the dust can lodge into the lungs, ultimately traveling to the heart. As a result, exposure can cause respiratory problems and even lead to cardiac arrest.

Air Pollution in National Parks

May 13, 2019

Recently the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) published a report stating that 85% of parks deal with unhealthy air due to ozone. While ozone is thought of typically resulting from vehicle and industrial emissions, park plants also emit compounds that react with NOx gasses to make ozone.

Weaknesses in Benicia's Air Monitoring System discovered after Valero's march Pollution Release

April 11, 2019

In March, Valero's Benicial refinery spit out pollution which caused city officials to warn residents to stay indoors. The Bay Area Air Quality Monitoring District sent a van to monitor the situation because currently there is no stationary air quality monitoring device in the residential areas despite the fact that it's home to one of the largest refineries in California. 

As explained in the article "Valer's March Pollution Release Exposes Weaknesses in Benicia's Air Monitoring System" by Ted Goldberg: 

KQED: Valero's Benicia Refinery Now Target of Several Probes Into Pollution Releases

March 26, 2019

An article by Ted Goldberg of KQED News has looked into the release of a large unexpected plume of petroleum coke dust by Valero's Benicia refinery. The release had local fire officials encouraging people with respiratory problems to avoid activity outdoors. 

A partial shutdown of the facility resulted from this incident. This is considered the worst breakdown since a 2017 power outage.