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Articles on Particulates

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Large industrial facilities like this oil refinery outside Houston are major sources of fine particulate air pollution. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Heart attacks, cancer, dementia, premature deaths: 4 essential reads on the health effects driving EPA’s new fine particle air pollution standard

On Feb. 7, 2024, the EPA strengthened the federal limit for annual levels of fine particulate air pollution, or PM2.5. Many serious health effects have been linked to PM2.5 exposure.
A massive dust storm billows across the western desert of Iraq on April 26, 2005. Shannon Arledge/USMC via Getty Images

Desert dust storms carry human-made toxic pollutants, and the health risk extends indoors

Desert dust storms are increasingly picking up materials like sewage, herbicides and other human-made waste and transporting them on tiny particles that are easy to inhale.
Trucks line up to load and unload at the Port of Los Angeles in Long Beach, California. Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Beyond passenger cars and pickups: 5 questions answered about electrifying trucks

As California goes on regulating air pollution, other states often follow – including the Golden State’s ambitious goals for cleaning up emissions from trucking.
Toxic dust hung in the air around ground zero for more than three months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Anthony Correia/Getty Images

9/11 survivors’ exposure to toxic dust and the chronic health conditions that followed offer lessons that are still too often unheeded

Those directly exposed to toxic dust and trauma on and after 9/11 carry with them a generation of chronic health conditions, which are placing them at higher risk during the pandemic and as they age.
Older homes can have a variety of environmental health risks. Kerry F. Thompson and Ryan T. Wilson

Fixing indoor air pollution problems that are raising Native Americans’ COVID-19 risk

Poor indoor air on tribal lands can cause a range of respiratory illnesses, including viral infections. Here’s how people are fixing the problem while preserving traditional ways.
Sampling wildfire smoke sometimes means sticking a tube out the window of an airplane. Brett Palm/University of Washington

Wildfire smoke changes dramatically as it ages, and that matters for downwind air quality – here’s what we learned flying through smoke plumes

Thousands of chemical compounds in wildfire smoke are interacting with each other and sunlight as the smoke travels. For people downwind, it can become more toxic over time.
The health impact of wildfire exposure depends in part on the fire itself and how much smoke a person breathes in, how often and for how long. AP Photos/Noah Berger

What’s in wildfire smoke, and why is it so bad for your lungs?

Wildfires blanketing several Western cities are creating hazardous health conditions. Don’t count on cloth masks to protect your lungs.
Fresno, California and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley have some of the nation’s highest levels of fine particle air pollution. AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian

Fine-particle air pollution has decreased across the US, but poor and minority communities are still the most polluted

A new study shows that while fine particle air pollution has declined nationwide over the past 40 years, the health and environmental benefits haven’t been shared evenly.

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