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Air Pollution

April 17, 2013 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Two years ago researchers outfitted an electric Toyota RAV4 with a set of test instruments and drove back and forth near four Los Angeles County freeways between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., sampling the air. The results confirmed that in the early morning, concentrated plumes of air pollution from freeways can travel more than a mile downwind, exposing more residents than previously thought to harmful pollution levels. Most previous air quality studies, based on measurements taken during the day or evening, have found that vehicle emission plumes generally blow no more than about 1,000 feet downwind from a major roadway before they break up. But in the hours just before sunrise, weather conditions are different.
April 11, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - President Obama's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, faced tough questioning from Senate Republicans at her confirmation hearing Thursday, in a clear signal to the White House that they will continue fighting environmental regulations as vigorously as they did in the first term. Obama's reelection, the gradual revival of the economy and the effects of climate change have not altered the viewpoint of some Republicans that climate change is suspect and environmental rules kill jobs.
April 11, 2013 | By Paul Whitefield
Who knew that being a smoggy place might be good for business? Gov. Jerry Brown is in China, and one of the things he's pitching is California's expertise in dealing with smog. Because if there's one thing we have in common with the Chinese, it's air pollution. Now, some of what Brown is doing is, well, kind of squishy. As my colleague Anthony York reported : On Wednesday, he held a private meeting with Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian. They signed a nonbinding agreement "to enhance cooperation on reducing air pollution," the first such accord between China's government and a U.S. state and one of several Brown is scheduled to secure while here.
April 9, 2013 | By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING -- The local media have given it a name: "Beijing Ke," or the Beijing Cough, defined by the China Daily as "a bout of persistent dry cough or throat tickle because of Beijing's poor air quality. " Earlier this year, the local air-quality reading was so bad that citizens were warned to stay in doors for days on end. The international media called it the "Airpocolypse. " For Beijing's 20 million residents, pollution has become a way of life. Even on the relatively good air-quality days, such as the ones that cold winds have brought here this week, locals take precautions.
March 28, 2013 | By Anna Gorman
Researchers have linked air pollution and birth defects among pregnant women in the San Joaquin Valley, according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine. The study looked at women between 1997 and 2006, including 806 whose pregnancies were impacted by birth defects and 849 not impacted. Researchers determined that the women who spent their early weeks of pregnancy living in areas with worse air pollution had a higher risk of having a birth defect in their babies.
March 4, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON -- President Obama is expected Monday to name Massachusetts Institute of Technology nuclear physicist Ernest J. Moniz to lead the Energy Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency's clean-air chief, Gina McCarthy, to run that agency, according to a White House official.   The nomination of McCarthy, 58, is likely to draw fire from congressional Republicans who, over the last four years, have attacked the EPA's new regulations to cut air pollution, including emissions of greenhouse gases, as job-killing government overreach.
February 21, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
Meat is murder, as the singer and animal activist Morrissey reminded us earlier this week. It's also incredibly bad for the environment. Livestock is among the causes of greenhouse gas emissions , which is responsible for global warming. (Watch this incredible video , and if you only have a minute to spare, fast forward to the 9-minute mark.) If that's not bad enough, a new study from the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis shows that grilling is responsible for toxic air pollution.
February 20, 2013 | By Bettina Boxall
When UC Davis scientists collected air pollution particles in Fresno and then exposed laboratory mice to them, they found that one of the most toxic sources was the backyard grill. Along with particles from vehicle and wood-burning emissions, particulates from residential cooking had the greatest measurable impacts on mice lung function.   “That was like, wow!,” said Anthony Wexler, the study's coauthor and director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis. “It's not that you're cooking; it's how you're cooking.
February 16, 2013 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
NORTH POLE, Alaska - In Krystal Francesco's neighborhood, known here as the "rectangle of death," the air pollution recently was so thick she could hardly see across the street. Wood stoves were cranking all over town - it was 40 below zero - and she had to take her daughter to the emergency room. "She's crying because she can't breathe, and I can just see her stomach rapidly going in and out. Sometimes, she's coughing to the point of throwing up," Francesco said of her 2½-year-old daughter, Kalli, who uses two different inhalers.
February 2, 2013 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING - Bad air is good news for many Chinese entrepreneurs. From gigantic domes that keep out pollution to face masks with fancy fiber filters, purifiers and even canned air, Chinese businesses are trying to find a way to market that most elusive commodity: clean air. An unprecedented wave of pollution throughout China (dubbed the "airpocalypse" or "airmageddon" by headline writers) has spawned an almost entirely new industry. The biggest ticket item is a huge dome that looks like a cross between the Biosphere and an overgrown wedding tent.
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