Health Effects

"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. 

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.

Scientists Study What Wildfire Smoke Could Do to Our Bodies Long-Term

December 04, 2018

With the immediate dangers of the Northern California wildfires under control, scientists from UC Davis begin to explore the long-term effects and impact of the smoke on our health. The Center for Health and Environment looked at filters that collected particulates during the wildfires.

What is normally collected over four weeks in a filter accumulated in just six hours. That's what our lungs filtered as well.