ChangwonSeoul issues emergency pollution measures The Seoul Metropolitan Government is set to waive public transportation fees during peak commute hours on Monday to mitigate the worsening air quality brought on by fine dust particles.

Bad air quality along Utah’s Wasatch Front causes more than 200 pneumonia cases each year Air pollution trapped by winter inversions along Utah’s Wasatch Front, the state’s most populated region, is estimated to send more than 200 people to the emergency room with pneumonia each year, according to a study by University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare.

24993_pollution-mongolia_1515118842250Severe air pollution chokes Mongolia amid harsh winters With thousands of families burning coal to survive in arctic temperatures, Mongolia is now home to the most poisonous air on the planet.


d9e1d7e8abc2b32e1baa26d4d75d3480Bangkok choked with air pollution Bangkok’s busy business areas are being choked with air pollution, with concentrations of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) much higher than safe standards, Bangkok officials warned on Thursday.


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Mongolian air pollution causing health crisis: UNICEF

Smog in the Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, is causing a public health crisis, especially among children, with treatment costs likely to put the cash-strapped country under increasing strain, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.

The government needed to take urgent action to limit smog-induced health problems, UNICEF and Mongolia’s National Center for Public Health said in a study, adding that a failure to act could push treatment costs up by a third by 2025, amounting to a further 4.8 billion tugrik ($2 million) a year in the capital.

“Air pollution has become a child health crisis in Ulaanbaatar, putting every child and pregnancy at risk,” UNICEF Mongolia Representative Alex Heikens said in a release.

“The risks include stillbirth, preterm birth, lower birth weight, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, inhibited brain development and death,” he said.

Pollution levels in Ulaanbaatar had become worse than that in cities such as Beijing and New Delhi, UNICEF and the public health agency said in their report, released on Thursday.

Concentrations of breathable airborne particles known as PM2.5 were as high as 3,320 micrograms per cubic meter at one monitoring station on Jan. 30, they said.

Average PM2.5 readings for January stood at about 206 micrograms in Ulaanbaatar, according to Reuters calculations based on incomplete government data.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends annual average PM2.5 concentrations of no more than 10 micrograms. PM2.5 in Beijing stood at 34 micrograms in January, down 70.7 percent from a year earlier.

Mongolia has struggled with pollution in its capital, where an influx of out-of-work herders migrating from the countryside has seen the population double in less than two decades.

The government has offered subsidies for more-efficient wood- and coal-burning stoves and it is also providing free electricity at night in some districts.

But smog levels spike in the bitterly cold winters, especially in poor “ger” neighborhoods, named after the felt tents in which many migrants live.

Many ger households burn coal or even trash to keep warm and the smog they produce has led to a surge in respiratory and heart disease and stoked anger and protests.

“Reducing air pollution levels is the only long-term sustainable solution to protecting children’s health,” Heikens said.

“In the meantime, thousands of children will continue to suffer unless urgent action is taken.”

via Mongolian air pollution causing health crisis: UNICEF

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Available Spring 2018.

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The latest in our range of sports pollution wear, with updated design and performance enhancing features.

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Could city dwellers be breathing themselves to an early grave?


New research shows that 90 minutes of open and constant exposure of oneself to the air in Kampala city could result in health complications some of which are chronic

Air pollution in Uganda has now become so bad that the danger to the health of people like cyclers and pedestrians plying their trade on the roads especially here in Kampala outweighs the benefits.

New research shows that 90 minutes of open and constant exposure of oneself to the air in Kampala city could result in health complications some of which are chronic.

In this week’s Panorama report titled: Air quality in Kampala: A deathtrap, Walter Mwesigye exposes the perils of Kampala’s contaminated air, which could send many to the graves.

via Could city dwellers be breathing themselves to an early grave? | NTV

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Smog Monday: Paris air pollution levels to hit dangerous high


Ile-de-France authorities have warned that bad weather and rising air pollution levels will expose Parisians to an alarming upsurge in fine-particle matter this Monday.
Paris is set to officially surpass the “warning” threshold for poor air quality.

According to Airparif, the air quality monitoring network for Ile-de-France, the concentration of unhealthy fine particles in the atmosphere is expected to be between 45 and 55 μg / m3.

The warning threshold is of 50 μg / m3, leading Airparif to expect a dangerously high level of air pollution in the capital unless the city’s residents take drastic action.

Paris police are calling on drivers and motorists in Ile-de-France to reduce their speed from 130 km / h to 110 km / h on the motorways, from 110 km / h to 90 km / h on fast lanes and dual carriageways, and from 90 km / h to 70 km / h elsewhere.

Anyone driving a vehicle over 3,5 tonnes in weight are also asked to avoid the capital.

“Ile-de-France is experiencing a new episode of fine-particle air pollution, as a result of unfavorable weather, the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, as well as wood burning and city traffic,” Paris police explained in a press brief.

City authorities are also asking Parisians to limit their indoor heating and avoid lighting wood fires and burning green waste in the open air.

Fine-particles such as “PM2.5 particles”, which are particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometres or less, are known to produce respiratory and cardiovascular illness.
These particles are small enough to invade even the smallest airways of the human body.
A 2016 study found that air pollution is behind the deaths of 48,000 people in France every year, arguing that most of the deaths are preventable.
According to the World Health Organization, over 47 million French people are exposed to a level of these fine particles that is considered to be unsafe.

via Smog Monday: Paris air pollution levels to hit dangerous high – The Local

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Want to monitor air pollution? Test a pigeon


Feral pigeons are exposed to the same environmental factors as humans, so help explore the affect of contaminants, say researchers

Pigeons might be seen as the scourge of cities, but researchers say they could help us explore both the levels and impacts of a host of toxins in the air, from lead to pesticides.

Scientists say feral pigeons are a valuable way of probing contaminants in environment, since they are exposed to the same air, water, food and other factors as humans, and don’t venture far from home.

“Because they are alive they process these chemicals in their bodies. This offers up the opportunity to not only find toxin hot spots in our environment, but to understand how these toxins affect biology,” said Dr Rebecca Calisi of the University of California, Davis, who is presenting research on the topic at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Previous work by Calisi and her team looking at blood lead levels from 825 unwell pigeons across the New York City borough of Manhattan, collected between 2010 and 2015, suggested that pigeons are a useful bioindicator of lead levels. The study showed that blood levels of lead in the birds were higher during the summer – an effect that has also been noted in children. The team also found that levels of lead in the pigeons’ blood were linked to the rate of children with raised blood lead levels in the same part of the borough.

Calisi isn’t alone in turning to our feathered friends for insights. Researchers in Amsterdam have shown blood lead levels in pigeons are linked to the heaviness of traffic, while scientists in Brazil have shown that pigeons in a big city have higher levels of lead, chromium and cadmium in their feathers than those from a less developed city.

World Pollutionwatch: evidence grows of lifelong harm from polluted air
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Now Calisi and colleagues say they have taken a step towards being able to probe the impacts of such toxins. In research soon to be published in the Journal of Hormones and Behaviour, the team describe how they developed approaches to unpick how stress affects the production of substances such as proteins from genes in the parts of the body and brain involved in reproduction in pigeons. “We now want to use this information to investigate how toxins like lead and other pollutants affect organisms at the level of the genome,” said Calisi.

Indeed the team believe pigeons could be used to examine both the levels and impact of a host of noxious substances. “Our plan moving forward is to screen pigeons not only only lead but for other toxins as well, from pesticides to fire retardants, to BPA and other heavy metals,” she said.

Research in white-tailed eagles has already shown that levels of flame retardants in feathers mirrors concentrations in the atmosphere, while studies have suggested that toxins in the air could affect a host of biological processes in birds, from growth rates to circulating testosterone levels and even mating behaviour.

And while pigeons might seem like a surprising tool for shedding light on possible implications of toxins for human health, Calisi says we are not so very different. “Birds, like us, are vertebrates. We share a lot of the same evolutionary history, and our bodies have many similarities in terms of tissue form and function,” she said, adding that, like humans, pigeons lactate and that the process is governed by the same hormones. “So as you see, what we learn in birds can have far-reaching implications.”

via Want to monitor air pollution? Test a pigeon | Environment | The Guardian

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Cleaning products a big source of urban air pollution, say scientists


Research shows paints, perfumes, sprays and other synthetic items contribute to high levels of ‘volatile organic compounds’ in air

Household cleaners, paints and perfumes have become substantial sources of urban air pollution as strict controls on vehicles have reduced road traffic emissions, scientists say.

Researchers in the US looked at levels of synthetic “volatile organic compounds”, or VOCs, in roadside air in Los Angeles and found that as much came from industrial and household products refined from petroleum as from vehicle exhaust pipes.

The compounds are an important contributor to air pollution because when they waft into the atmosphere, they react with other chemicals to produce harmful ozone or fine particulate matter known as PM2.5. Ground level ozone can trigger breathing problems by making the airways constrict, while fine airborne particles drive heart and lung disease.

In Britain and the rest of Europe, air pollution is more affected by emissions from diesel vehicles than in the US, but independent scientists said the latest work still highlighted an important and poorly understood source of pollution that is currently unregulated.

“This is about all those bottles and containers in your kitchen cabinet below the sink and in the bathroom. It’s things like cleaners, personal products, paints and glues,” said Joost de Gouw, an author on the study at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“When you think about how much of those products you use in your daily life, it doesn’t compare to how much fuel you put in the car. But for every kilogram of fuel that is burned, only about one gram ends up in the air. For these household and personal products, some compounds evaporate almost completely.”

Globally, the greatest source of volatile organic compounds are plants and trees, but the natural background levels are bolstered by vapours released from hairsprays and perfumes; cleaning products and pesticides; paints and lacquers, and substances such as formaldehyde, which is used in glues, plywood and other building materials. Yet more synthetic VOCs come from burning fuels such as gas and wood.

“It’s hard to say how much pollution is down to VOCs, but a rough estimate is that between one quarter and a third of all particles are made up of organic compounds that originate as VOCs,” said Alastair Lewis, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York. In Britain, one of the most harmful air pollutants is nitrogen dioxide, which is unrelated to VOCs.

Writing in the journal Science, De Gouw and others report that the amount of VOCs emitted from household and industrial products is two to three times higher than official US estimates suggest. The result is surprising since only about 5% of raw oil is turned into chemicals for consumer products, with 95% ending up as fuel.

“This paper is interesting because it shows that domestic use of VOCs is beginning to dominate, displacing the traditional sources from vehicles and industry,” Lewis told the Guardian. “It’s a challenge for regulators since many of these sources, including cleaning and personal care products, aren’t controlled.

“If the paper is right then many countries will need to rethink how they plan to meet their international obligations to reduce emissions. The UK is already thinking about how to tackle and reduce domestic emissions,” he said.

William Bloss, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Birmingham, said the work highlighted a continuing need to understand real world emissions. But he added: “We have a much higher proportion of diesel traffic in the UK and we know that diesel use is associated with a lot of different hydrocarbons and particulates. I suspect that in the UK, traffic in the form of diesel vehicles is still the most important.”

Even so, De Gouw believes VOCs from household products should still be factored into policies on emissions. “London is a little different to LA because of the higher diesel use, but I expect that even in London a significant fraction of VOCs will come from these kinds of emissions,” he said.

David Green, who studies air pollution at King’s College London, said: “Organic aerosols, which are produced when these volatile chemicals react in the atmosphere contribute significantly to UK PM2.5 concentrations as they do all over the world. In London, where we measure these routinely, approximately a third of PM2.5s can be attributed to organic aerosols which come from a range of sources including vehicle emissions, wood burning and even cooking. This paper highlights a previously poorly understood source which is currently unregulated.”

via Cleaning products a big source of urban air pollution, say scientists | Environment | The Guardian

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