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Monthly Archives: January 2012

  • Brevard County breathes easier with cleaner air

    Residents of Brevard County, a place fondly referred to as the Space Coast, can now breathe a sigh of relief. In the most recent data released from the federal Toxics Release Inventory, toxic air pollution in Brevard County has dropped almost 90 percent, according to Florida Today.

    "You can really see a big drop from 2007 to 2010," Caroline Shine, administrator of the air resources management program for Florida Department of Environmental Protection central district in Orlando, told the news source.

    The drop in air pollution levels is attributed to a variety of factors. However, officials caution residents that the new figures are not indicative of a decrease in health risk. Investing in a home air purifier could assist in decreasing prolonged exposure to toxins in the air.

    Efforts to decrease pollution began with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection creating regulations for local businesses, inspecting them and then allowing the potential fines accrued to be spent on upgrading the business or pollution prevention projects. The closing of the Florida Power & Light Co. power plant for a cleaner new gas plant and a decrease in luxury boat manufacturing has contributed heavily to the new increase in air quality.

  • Three Lake Erie coal-fired power plants to close

    FirstEnergy Corp., an Ohio-based utility company, announced on Thursday, January 27 that it will be shutting down three Lake Erie coal-fired plants, reports the Chicago Tribune.

    The power company faced the more stringent pollution limits set by the Federal Clean Air Act. FirstEnergy Corp. announced that it will be closing the plants instead of upgrading due to cost.

    The Obama administration has begun to penalize and require plants that produce lung- and heart-damaging pollution under court order, according to the Miami Herald. While the plants may be closing this year, toxic air pollutants can remain in a region for an extended time period. To increase air quality and ensure that these toxins don't cause lasting health concerns, individuals can invest in medical-grade home air purifiers such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier.

    Closing the plants is expected to improve the local fishing economy. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bay Shore plant near Toledo, Ohio killed more than 46 million adult fish, as well as 2.4 billion eggs, larvae and young fish every year.

    Those who support the measure believe the closings will benefit regional air quality and provide a boost to the fishing industry, which is necessary for creating more jobs.

  • Automakers support new California regulation to cut air pollution

    A new proposed regulation in California would require automakers to build more electric and hybrid vehicles by 2025, reports the Washington Post. Large automakers such as Ford Motor Corp., Chrysler Group LLC, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and others have already testified on the behalf of the new emission standards being proposed during a California Air Resources Board meeting.

    "We can’t afford to wait. We have to act on these issues now," Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chairman, said at the panel’s meeting. "Our projections show continued growth in population and vehicle miles traveled, which will affect air quality for years to come."

    A home air purifier could help decrease the toxins that can travel into residences until the proposed new regulations come into effect.

    The new standards include cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and begin with new cars sold in 2015, as well as mandates that one in every seven new cars sold in California in 2012 would be a zero-emission or plug-in hybrid car. The state aims to have 1.4 million zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2025.

    While the plan works to create a more environmentally friendly state with cleaner air, it might take some time to see it come to fruition.

  • Air quality agreement cuts pollution in Carolina

    A settlement between environmental groups and Duke Energy will cut pollution out gradually by phasing out over 1,600 mega watts of an outdated, dirty coal-fired power plant.

    Under the terms, Duke Energy will slowly retire old coal-powered units that lack modern pollution control technology while meeting customer energy demands. The timeline for retirement is enforceable, thereby ensuring that improvements in air and water quality will be made. However, it will be years before all the changes are made. For homes surrounded by out-dated coal-burning plants, a home air purifier could improve indoor air quality.

    "This settlement phases out some of the oldest, dirtiest and most inefficient coal plants in the Carolinas," John Suttles, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented the groups in court, told the media. "In addition to protecting people's health and saving lives, it also will save ratepayers' money by paving the way for a more efficient and sustainable energy future."

    Presently, only the Duke Energy's Cliffside power plant near Shelby, North Carolina, operates under the new strict acid gas controls, with a 99.9 percent reduction in air pollution.

  • Poor air quality in schools can make students ill

    According to CNN, studies have estimated that a third of U.S. schools have mold, dust and other indoor air problems at high enough volumes to cause or exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma in students and teachers.

    This is a decrease from a 1995 federal government report that estimated that 50 percent of the nation's schools have problems linked to poor air quality, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

    Indoor air pollutants can cause students and faculty discomfort, decrease productivity, increase absenteeism and lead to short- and long-term health effects. School administrators searching for a potential cost-effective solution to improve indoor air quality should consider the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier. It is a medical-grade air purifier able to remove ultrafine particles that may be present in an older educational facility.

    Mold, mildew and dust present in schools can negatively impact the health of students and faculty. By investing in an air purifier, a school can drastically reduce respiratory tract infections, disease, allergic reactions, headaches, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, headaches and asthma attacks - all prime conditions that increase absenteeism amongst students and teachers.

    Schools and students suffer when children are not present in the classroom. An increase in indoor air quality could assist in decreasing absenteeism caused by illness.

  • NYC's Second Avenue Subway Construction Causes Health Worries

    Construction to create the Second Avenue subway on New York City's Upper East Side - which temporarily stopped due to numerous complaints from residents reporting health problems - has resumed with promises from the MTA for less dust.

    The MTA is working on digging three underground stations for the much-anticipated line along 2nd Avenue from 125th Street to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, according to The New York Times. The long-awaited construction has been a nuisance to Manhattan Easter-siders due to excessive noise, powerful vibrations and respiratory health concerns.

    The poor air quality from the smoke and dust created a large movement from residents to halt the project until a solution could be found.

    "It's like gun powder that is going up in the air," Jean Schoenberger, who lives on East 70th street, told the news source before blasting was resumed. "It is a smoke cloud that is very pervasive."

    The dust and particulate debris from blasting was coating those walking the streets - forcing them to cover their faces in an attempt to prevent inhalation. Respiratory problems became so common that doctors in the area termed it "the Second Avenue cough." Local residents with homes and apartments in the Upper East Side were unable to keep the dirt and dust from finding its way into their homes, regardless of whether they kept their windows shut.

    "I don't want it to turn into a 9/11 situation where 5 to 10 years down the line we're sick," resident Donna Pressman said at a meeting of Community Board 8's Second Avenue Subway Task Force Committee on Tuesday, according to NBC New York.

    The MTA has promised residents a reduction in excessive dust and explained numerous changes to the project, including smaller blasts, spraying extra water and using a curtain to soak it up. However, dust will still remain in the area regardless of reduction treatments. For this reason, homeowners concerned about potential illness due to poor air quality may wish to consider investing in a medical-grade home air purifier.

    The IQAir HealthPro Plus provides air filtration for the home and will reduce residents' exposure to the poor air quality resulting from construction. Homeowners in the Upper East Side concerned about potential health problems should consider a home air purifier while construction is underway, especially as the project is not scheduled to be completed until 2016.

  • Fine particles creating historic levels of poor air quality

    Air pollution officials claim air quality surrounding Bakersfield, California, is reaching historically bad levels. The unusually warm weather is working to keep the atmosphere from mixing and allowing poor air to remain low. Additionally, the lack of rain or wind is also allowing air to remain stagnant. 

    Medical-grade air purifiers may be a necessary investment for those wishing to improve indoor air quality if conditions continue much longer. Poor air quality poses a health risk to humans, especially the elderly, children and those diagnosed with respiratory problems. 

    "Now, in the winter, we are dealing with particulate matter with all those fine particles in the air," Brenda Turner of the Turner of the Valley Air District told ABC channel 23.

    The weather has led to the development of historically poor air quality. As of January 11, 2011, the county has passed a wood burning ban for the 25th straight day. The Air District is working to remind people to refrain from using their fireplaces until an announcement has been made regarding a situational change.

    Already, the number of citations for violations this winter has increased 320 percent compared to the same time last year. Poor air quality is a serious matter and officials are recommending that the public limit outdoor activity.

  • Environmental Protection Agency recognizes National Radon Action Month

    Approximately 21,000 Americans die from radon-related lung cancer a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. To help promote education on the issue in order to reduce radon poisoning in America, the EPA announced the creation of the Federal Radon Action Plan in 2011 and made January National Radon Action Month.

    Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from uranium breakdown in soil, rock and water. It often enters the home through cracks in the foundation, pipes and holes. After testing to confirm if radon is present in the home and removing it, homeowners may wish to further invest in their indoor air quality by using a home air purifier.

    The radon action plan works to demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address financial incentives for implementing home preventative measures and how homeowners can test, find and fix their homes to reduce the chance of high radon levels.

    A homeowner can begin to test for elevated levels of radon in the home with a do-it-yourself test available at a home improvement store. With knowledge and proper action to improve air quality, a homeowner may create a healthier, hazard-free living space.

  • Texas blocks new EPA ruling

    After the new Cross-State Pollution rule by the EPA was passed at the end of 2011, some power companies were worried about the effect it would have on their ability to produce. This concern was borne out of the potential cost and time it would take to fit these plants with the proper filters for reducing the emissions to a safe level under the new guidelines.

    As a result of this worry, many Texas-based power companies asked for the date of implementation to be pushed back from January 1st of 2012. When this was denied by the EPA, these companies took it a step further. A D.C. circuit court granted the request that the EPA wouldn't, effectively stopping this new law.

    This means that until the hearing in the spring, the old laws for governing emissions will remain while investigators for both the court and the EPA take another look at the law to find the places where it can be improved as well as which aspects would cause the cited 'irreparable harm' that many power companies claim it will cause.

    Until new legislation is passed, emissions are expected to remain high. If you'd like to remove that pollution from your breathing air, consider investing in a medical-grade home air purifier to keep the air in your home clean and healthy for you and your family.

  • How traffic jams affect air quality

    The personal automobile is the single greatest polluter in most urban areas, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While the emissions from a single vehicle are minute, every pollutant produced can add up to create the hazy blanket traditionally pictured in urban environments that see heavy traffic flow.

    Emission production increases during traffic jams - often to an unhealthy level. The constant acceleration and braking in stop-and-go traffic burns fuel at a faster rate, resulting in a greater rate of emissions being released at one centralized location. Vehicle exhaust negatively impacts air quality by adding hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to the EPA.

    Homes located near roadways that frequently suffer negative traffic conditions may wish to invest in a professional-grade air purifier.

    This type of chemical cocktail can negatively impact human health. High levels of nitrogen oxide are toxic, and carbon dioxide works to create an insulating barrier from the sun resulting in a build up of ozone that impairs lung function. The IQAir® GC MultiGas air purifier can clear the home of a wide variety of pollutants - a potentially worthwhile investment for individuals living near heavy traffic.

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