Articles on Particulates

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Oil refineries and other industrial sources in and around Houston create some of the highest ozone levels in the nation. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

As air pollution increases in some US cities, the Trump administration is weakening clean air regulations

Air quality in the US has improved greatly since 1990, but a new report finds progress stalling in some cities. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is rolling back air pollution controls.
An image from the International Space Station captures plumes of smoke from California wildfires on August 4, 2018. NASA

Wildfire smoke is becoming a nationwide health threat

Haze from Northern California wildfires has drifted as far east as Philadelphia. Wildfire smoke contains many potentially toxic substances, so anyone exposed to it should take basic precautions.
A Kosovo policeman directs cars in Pristina after the government banned traffic in response to extremely high fine particle pollution levels, Jan. 31, 2018. AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu

Fine particle air pollution is a public health emergency hiding in plain sight

The head of the World Health Organization calls air pollution 'the new tobacco' because it causes millions of preventable deaths yearly. Fine particle pollution is especially deadly.
Coal stockpile at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin power plant, 2011. Michael Pereckas

Even when it’s sitting in storage, coal threatens human health

A recent study shows that large piles of coal produce measurable quantities of fine particulate air pollution within a 25-mile radius. Covering coal trains and storage piles could reduce the problem.
Want cleaner air? Stop leaving your car engine running while you’re stopped at lights or waiting for a passenger, and demand better regulations from the government. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Australia needs stricter rules to curb air pollution, but there’s a lot we could all do now

Australia needs stronger policy aimed at curbing air pollution, but the options currently on the table fall short. For now, we could all aim to drive less and turn off the engine when the car is idle.
Face masks like these, modeled by students from the Peltier Aerosol Lab, vary widely in effectiveness against fine particle pollution. Richard E. Peltier

Millions rely on cheap cloth masks that may provide little protection against deadly air pollution

Inexpensive cloth face masks, worn by many people in heavily polluted countries, offer only partial protection. Instead governments should warn people to avoid exposure and work to clear the air.
Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

China can’t smother growing public demands to clear the air

Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse…

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