Articles on Air pollution

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Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Plants on the Arctic tundra absorb mercury from the air, then transfer it to soil when they die. Paxson Woelber

Mercury from industrialized nations is polluting the Arctic – here’s how it gets there

How do mercury emissions from industrialized countries reach the remote Arctic? Recent research shows that plants on the tundra absorb mercury vapor through their leaves, then pass it into soil.
Flames and smoke shroud State Route 33 as a wildfire burns in Ventura, California, Dec. 5, 2017. Daniel Dreifuss via AP

Exposure to wildfire smoke: 5 questions answered

Intense wildfires in southern California are triggering air quality alerts. Health experts know surprisingly little about how inhaling smoke affects human health, especially over the long term.
Pacific seabirds, such as this Great Blue Heron, can accumulate mercury in their bodies from the fish they eat. (Flickr)

Mercury decline in seabirds due to diet, not emissions controls

Mercury levels in seabirds living off the coast of British Columbia have been stable in recent years. New research suggests that this may be due to changes in their diet, not pollution control.
Fracking has led to an increase in truck traffic, one of the reasons for worsening trends on air quality in areas with oil and gas drilling. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

How has the US fracking boom affected air pollution in shale areas?

The fracking boom has led to a large increase of hydrocarbon emissions in rural areas, reversing some regional air toxics trends.
Sensors distributed in 2016 as part of the Ambassad’air project to equip residents of Rennes. Damien Meyer/AFP

Fine-particulate pollution: can we trust microsensor readings?

The use of small devices to measure the presence of fine particles in the air is becoming widespread. They're one more weapon to fight against air pollution, but questions remain on their reliability.
Beijing residents with a variety of approaches to urban air pollution. Bryan Ledgard/Flickr

Can facemasks help reduce the negative health impacts of air pollution?

In recent years the number of motor vehicles – and the pollution they generate – has grown astronomically, leading some citydwellers to wear facemasks in the hopes of protecting themselves. So do they work?

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