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Monday, 14 April 2008 01:30

Central Valley Smog Concerns

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slide10.jpgThe amount of smog and particle pollution in Central Valley air could be playing havoc with the health of Californians, particularly children, according to the American Lung Association. In 2005, ALA released findings from air quality monitoring stations across the state. The organization found that in 32 of 58 counties, residents were being exposed to air pollution at levels considered unhealthy. Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama and Tuolumne counties were some of the places with the unhealthiest air.

The ALA report may point to one reason why respiratory specialist Dr. George Bensch of Stockton is seeing more patients with lung damage and asthma. "The pollution counts undoubtedly are adding to allergies," Bensch said. "We think allergies are increasing in children probably 7 percent here." The American Lung Association estimates that 4.2 million Californians live with lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In March, the Environmental Protection Agency launched a set of multibillion-dollar smog restrictions it called "the most stringent standards ever." The new, primary eight-hour standard is .075 parts ozone per million and the new secondary standard is set at a form and level identical to the primary standard. The previous primary and secondary eight-hour standards were set at .08 ppm. However, because ozone is measured out to three decimal places, the standard effectively became .084 ppm, according to the EPA.

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