On May 15, 2020, the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania filed written comments opposing EPA’s proposed rule entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Science.” CAB expressed concern that the proposed rule will work to create barriers to the use of highly respected and valuable epidemiological studies in EPA’s decisions. Along with other consequences, under the proposed rule, large epidemiological studies like the effect of air pollution and correlation with public health in regard to respiratory, cardiac, and neurological impacts would be discounted, to the detriment of people living close to polluting sources.
The full comment statement can be found here.
New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates
The New York Times, April 7, 2020 by Lisa Friedman
WASHINGTON — Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates.
See How the World’s Most Polluted Air Compares With Your City’s
by Nadja Popovich, Blacki Migliozzi, Karthik Patanjali, Anjali Singhvi and Jon HuangDec. 2, 2019
We visualized the damaging, tiny particles that wreak havoc on human health. From the Bay Area to New Delhi, see how the world’s worst pollution compares with your local air.
June 1, 2018, Joe Cress The Sentinel
Sometimes the proudest achievement is the hardest one to measure in terms of its impact down the road.Such is the case with the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania and the lobbying effort it led a decade ago to implement anti-idling legislation.
That legislation put into place time limits on idling in the hope the new restrictions could reduce fine particulate emissions from diesel engine exhausts.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for ozone on June 16, 2018 for the Pittsburgh region (encompassing Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland counties). A Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for ozone is also forecast on June 17 and 18 for the Pittsburgh region, southcentral counties (Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties) and the Lehigh Valley (Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton counties).
On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and business are encouraged to voluntarily restrict certain pollution-producing activities by:
• Refueling cars and trucks after dusk
• Setting air conditioner thermostats to a higher temperature
• Carpooling or using public transportation; and
• Combining errands to reduce trips.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the roll out of new grant and rebate programs to improve air quality in Pennsylvania funded by the $118 million settlement with Volkswagen Group of America, Pennsylvania’s share of the settlement for allegations of cheating on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests.
The new initiative, Driving PA Forward, is aimed at permanently reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions statewide by as much as 27,700 tons overall by accelerating the replacement of older, polluting diesel engines with cleaner technologies.
Emissions from diesel engines in trucks, buses, forklifts, and other transportation equipment account for over 25 percent of the NOx emissions in Pennsylvania. These emissions contribute to ground-level ozone, leading to poorer air quality and health impacts, especially for children and the elderly.”
Diesel emissions also include fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which can lead to health problems such as asthma and worsen medical issues such as heart and lung disease and emphysema.
“Reducing smog and particle pollution is essential to maintaining healthy communities,” said Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine. “More than 380,000 children in Pennsylvania have asthma – something that is exacerbated by air pollution from diesel emissions. These grants and rebates will cut down on those emissions and help everyone breathe a little easier.”
Eight grant and rebate programs will be available over the next five years, with as much as $39 million available for disbursement in year one. Programs will be rolled out throughout 2018.
Summer will soon be here and that can mean high levels of air pollutants in our air, specifically ozone and small particles, commonly known as smog.
Meteorologists declare “Air Quality Action” days when they project that weather conditions are conducive for unhealthy air pollution. In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) called six action days for the Susquehanna Valley.
We should heed those warnings. Recent scientific studies conclude that short-term exposure to unhealthy air pollution can have significant adverse effects on pregnant women, children, the elderly, and even the general population–especially those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma. Short term symptoms resulting from breathing high levels of ozone and fine particulate are chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion. These pollutants also aggravate bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma—and can increase risks of stroke. Children, senior citizens, and those with asthma or other respiratory problems are urged to limit outdoor activities when an action day is predicted.
Air Quality Action days are often declared when there is little wind and when the amount of ozone or particles in stagnant air could exceed federal health standards. The DEP monitors local and regional air quality. Local television and radio stations alert the public when an Air Quality Action day is predicted. Check your newspaper’s websites as well. The Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania also monitors pollution levels and posts notices at this website when DEP declares an Air Quality Action day. Stay informed!
There will be no Clean Air Board meeting on Jan. 4. CAB’s next meeting will be Feb. 1.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a new study on deaths associated with air pollution. The New York Times reported on this study.
“The researchers found that for each day-to-day increase of 10 micrograms per square meter in fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), the small particles of soot that easily enter the lungs and bloodstream, there was a 1.05 percent increase in deaths. For each 10 parts per billion increase in ozone, a main component of smog, there was a 0.51 percent increase.”