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NEWS
December 14, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, This post has been corrected. See below for details.
Citing the need to strengthen safeguards to public health, the Obama administration announced the strictest standards in 15 years for soot, the fine particles emitted by power plants and diesel vehicles that contribute to haze and respiratory ailments. The Environmental Protection Agency tightened the limit, called the national ambient air quality standards for fine particles, to 12 micrograms per cubic meter for the annual average level of fine particulate matterĀ from the standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter last set in 1997.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
California's parched winter brought a big surge in air pollution, pushing the number of bad air days one-third higher than the previous winter and posing a serious health threat, state air quality officials said Tuesday. Levels of haze-forming soot typically increase in winter, but this year was worse because of the persistent lack of rainfall, low winds and unusually stagnant conditions that trapped pollution close to the ground. Karen Magliano, an assistant division chief at the California Air Resources Board, said the increase in dirty air was a weather-driven exception to a decade-long trend of improvement.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 15, 2012 | By Dean Kuipers
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed new regulations Thursday that would further reduce legal limits for fine particle pollution -- otherwise known as soot -- in the nation's air. Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, made the announcement in a phone call with reporters, saying that the new standard would save thousands of lives and an upward estimate of billions of dollars in healthcare...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 23, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Air pollution in California has dropped significantly over the last decade, yet about one-third of the population lives in communities where the air does not meet federal health standards, state officials reported Thursday. The evaluation of smog and soot levels was presented at a meeting in Sacramento of the California Air Resources Board, which oversees the state's progress in cleaning air that remains among the dirtiest in the nation. Despite falling 15% to 20% in urban areas since 2003, smog remains above federal health standards in parts of Greater Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento and San Diego, the board's report said.
NEWS
September 26, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
You've decided to help your health and the environment by riding your bike to work. Good for you! Sorry to have to deliver the bad news: you may be inhaling more soot. The amount might be more than twice as much as urban pedestrians, says a pilot study presented Sunday at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress . The study involved five cyclists who regularly biked to work and five pedestrians from London. They ranged in age from 18 to 40 and were healthy nonsmokers.
NATIONAL
December 14, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced a new air pollution standard Friday that would bring about a 20% reduction in microscopic particles of soot emitted by coal-fired power plants and diesel vehicles that contribute to haze and respiratory ailments. The new limit, fought by industry and welcomed by environmentalists, marks the first time the Environmental Protection Agency tightened the soot standard since it was established 15 years ago. "These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
OPINION
December 28, 2012
Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, did not produce the record some had hoped for, as she was continually held back from her ambitious regulatory plans by business and political opponents. And even her last major action - she announced last week that she is leaving her post - is overdue but still welcome. The EPA is demanding of local governments a 20% reduction in soot emissions. If it is successful in producing those results, the new standards will save thousands of lives and reduce the nation's healthcare costs by billions of dollars.
BUSINESS
June 20, 2010 | By Barry Stone
Question: I painted the inside of my home six months ago, and already it needs to be repainted. Portions of the walls have become visibly darkened. Strangely, this occurs wherever there are framing members behind the drywall. I can see where all the wall studs and ceiling joists are. Not only that, I can see dark spots where all the drywall nails are. What could be causing this, and what can I do about it? Answer: What you are seeing is a phenomenon commonly called "ghosting."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 19, 1992 | DANNY SULLIVAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Dear Street Smart: Can you tell me why it is that those of us who drive personal vehicles are required to have our cars "smog-checked," yet day after day, large trucks, semis, etc., can be seen belching huge gobs of black smoke on our freeways, highways and streets? Are they exempt? Mary Regan, Tustin Diesel-powered trucks and buses are not exempt from air pollution regulations, and you should find fewer truck polluters on the road as the state's smog-check program for diesels picks up speed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 3, 2009
SCIENCE
October 10, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Diamonds are forever, unless you're on Saturn or Jupiter. Loads of the super-hard precious stones may be floating among the gas giants' fluid layers and melted into liquid further into their depths, say a pair of planetary scientists. The research, being presented at the Division for Planetary Sciences conference this week in Denver, sprang from very humble beginnings - soot in Saturn's atmosphere, said Kevin Baines, a planetary scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the work's coauthors.
SCIENCE
September 4, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Black soot from 19th century homes and factories in Europe hastened the end of the Little Ice Age and caused glaciers in the Alps to retreat decades sooner than they would have otherwise, according to a new study. The black carbon particles caused the snow to absorb more heat, speeding up the melting process. As a result, the glaciers beneath the snowpack were exposed earlier in the year, giving them more time to melt. And glacial ice melts faster than snow, because it is darker.
SCIENCE
July 10, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Wildfires such as the Yarnell Hill blaze in Arizona may be warming Earth's atmosphere far more than previously thought, according to a study by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Researchers at the Department of Energy facility normally chase fires throughout the western U.S., to measure their atmospheric effects. But in 2011, they took advantage of a conflagration that came to their doorstep - the Las Conchas fire that burned more than 150,000 acres and briefly caused the evacuation of the sprawling facility in the New Mexico desert.
OPINION
January 12, 2013
Re "Joining the EPA's war on soot," Editorial, Jan. 2 The Times notes that "coal plants and diesel engines have begun the work of reducing soot" but left out how much has been accomplished. According to the California Air Resources Board, particulate-matter emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks declined from 7.5% of all such emissions in the entire state in 1990 to 3.8% in 2008 and will be just 1.6% in 2020. The diesel truck share of particulate-matter emissions in the South Coast Air Basin decreased from 7% in 2005 to 3% in 2011.
OPINION
December 28, 2012
Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, did not produce the record some had hoped for, as she was continually held back from her ambitious regulatory plans by business and political opponents. And even her last major action - she announced last week that she is leaving her post - is overdue but still welcome. The EPA is demanding of local governments a 20% reduction in soot emissions. If it is successful in producing those results, the new standards will save thousands of lives and reduce the nation's healthcare costs by billions of dollars.
NEWS
December 14, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, This post has been corrected. See below for details.
Citing the need to strengthen safeguards to public health, the Obama administration announced the strictest standards in 15 years for soot, the fine particles emitted by power plants and diesel vehicles that contribute to haze and respiratory ailments. The Environmental Protection Agency tightened the limit, called the national ambient air quality standards for fine particles, to 12 micrograms per cubic meter for the annual average level of fine particulate matterĀ from the standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter last set in 1997.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 27, 2011 | By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times
Smog and soot levels have dropped significantly in Southern California over the last decade, but the Los Angeles region still has the highest levels of ozone nationwide, violating federal health standards an average of 137 days a year. The city ranks second in the country, behind Bakersfield, for the highest year-round levels of toxic particles or soot, and fourth in the nation for the number of short-term spikes in soot pollution. The rankings, part of the annual "State of the Air" report by the American Lung Assn., are based on federal and state data, which show that more than 90% of Californians live in counties with unhealthful air. Unlike parts of the East and Midwest, where coal-fired power plants are a primary source of toxic pollution, Southern California's chemical stew is the product of tailpipe emissions from cars and diesel pollution from trucks, trains and ships linked to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
NEWS
January 28, 2000 | MARLA CONE, TIMES ENVIRONMENTAL WRITER
California's air quality board on Thursday delayed a decision on a far-reaching regulation that would gradually replace polluting diesel transit buses with cleaner technologies. After a six-hour hearing, state Air Resources Board Chairman Alan Lloyd said that too many concerns remained about the proposal to adopt it immediately.
NATIONAL
December 14, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced a new air pollution standard Friday that would bring about a 20% reduction in microscopic particles of soot emitted by coal-fired power plants and diesel vehicles that contribute to haze and respiratory ailments. The new limit, fought by industry and welcomed by environmentalists, marks the first time the Environmental Protection Agency tightened the soot standard since it was established 15 years ago. "These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
SCIENCE
November 30, 2012 | By Louis Sahagun
The bright orange flames of kerosene wick lamps used in millions of impoverished households around the world are significant sources of global warming and pollutants linked to respiratory diseases, according to a new study. Lab and field work led by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that 7% to 9% of the kerosene consumed by the crude burners is converted to black carbon -- a 20-fold increase over previous estimates, the study published online this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology said.
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