Air Pollution

6:43am

Thu June 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Obama Working On Plan That Limits Power Plant Emissions

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:29 am

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, W.Va.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

President Obama will soon unveil a plan that will put limits on the carbon emissions of existing power plants, the administration's top energy adviser says.

The New York Times reports this is the most consequential part of a bigger plan to curb climate change. The newspaper adds:

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11:18am

Fri May 31, 2013
Research News

Gizmo Uses Lung Cells To Sniff Out Health Hazards In Urban Air

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:23 pm

Adam Cole NPR

Cities like Houston are dotted with air-sniffing monitors that measure levels of benzene and other potentially unhealthy air pollutants. But those monitors can't answer the question we care about most: Is the air safe?

That's because there's no simple relationship between toxic air pollutants and health risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are trying to get a leg up on that problem. They are building an instrument that uses human lung cells to measure health hazards in the air more directly.

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6:33pm

Thu May 30, 2013
Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

Baton Rouge's Corroded, Overpolluting Neighbor: Exxon Mobil

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:50 am

An evening view of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery complex in Baton Rouge, La.
John W. Poole NPR

If you stand in front of Almena and Sidney Poray's house in Baton Rouge, La., and look straight down the street, past the other houses and the shade trees, you see more than a dozen plumes of exhaust in various hues of gray and white.

"That's something you see every day, the same thing if not more," says Almena Poray. "Sometimes it's a darker gray; sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

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2:11am

Fri May 24, 2013
Parallels

China's Air Pollution: Is The Government Willing To Act?

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 9:55 am

Skyscrapers are obscured by heavy haze in Beijing on Jan. 13. Air pollution remains a serious — sometimes overwhelming — problem, but researchers say environmental technology is available to solve it.
Ng Han Guan AP

Denise Mauzerall arrived in Beijing this year at a time that was both horrifying and illuminating. The capital was facing some of its worst pollution in recent memory, and Mauzerall, a Princeton environmental engineering professor, was passing through on her way to a university forum on the future of cities.

"I took the fast train from Beijing to Shanghai, and looking out the window for large sections of that trip, you couldn't see more than 20 feet," Mauzerall recalled.

To Mauzerall, the lesson was surprising and inescapable.

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6:29am

Sat May 18, 2013
Environment

Not Your Grandpa's RV: This Roving Lab Tracks Air Pollution

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 11:45 am

Ira Leifer, next to an RV he has outfitted with methane sensors and other equipment to sniff the air.
Richard Harris NPR

If you're driving down the road someday and you come across a camper with a 50-foot periscope sticking up into the sky, you just might have crossed paths with Ira Leifer. His quirky vehicle is on a serious mission. It's sniffing the air for methane, a gas that contributes to global warming.

Leifer is an atmospheric scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But you'll more often find him off campus, in a garage, next to a string of auto body shops near the airport.

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