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Pollution

  • Minnesota company penalized for emitting hazardous pollutants

    Superior Industries, a Minnesota company that specializes in the development and manufacturing of conveyor systems and components, received $20,000 in fines due to several pollution issues. According to the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency penalized the company for hazardous pollution emissions between 2001 and 2011

    The business consistently exceeded the amount of dangerous organic compounds it was allowed to produce under its permit. Company officials told the agency about its hazardous pollution emissions in December 2010, but continued their actions through January 2011.

    Agency officials found that many of the compounds produced by Superior Industries were carcinogens that could cause serious health problems. Additionally, agency leaders discovered that the firm had an emergency generator that was not listed on its inventory, and control equipment had not been properly installed on sandblasting machines.

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  • Minnesota officials control air pollution

    Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) administrators effectively managed numerous air pollutants over the past two years. According to Minnesota Public Radio News, these officials improved air quality in the Twin Cities by focusing on fine particle pollution.

    Recent MPCA data showed that the Twin Cities area averages roughly 10 air quality alerts in most years. However, there were only four such alerts in both 2011 and 2012.

    Air quality warnings are issued if pollutant levels are unhealthy for certain groups, including people who have respiratory problems. MPCA official Rich Strassman said that the recent reduction in the number of warnings is a positive sign for the state, but noted that the weather also impacted the agency's calculations.

    "We can probably attribute it to some fairly active weather in 2012, where the concentrations just didn't accumulate over multiple days like we've seen in the past," Strassman told the news source.

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  • Illinois official sues publishing firm due to air pollution concerns

    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is attempting to reduce air pollution by examining the conditions surrounding a local printing plant. According to the Chicago Tribune, Madigan filed a lawsuit against Lake Book Manufacturing Inc. after the company installed 10 printing presses without construction permits.

    The printing presses are capable of emitting air pollutants, and Lake Book Manufacturing could be penalized up to $50,000 for each violation and an extra $10,000 for every day it illegally operated the units. Lake Book Manufacturing's printing machines could produce more than 25 tons of volatile organic materials per year.

    Madigan said that Lake Book Manufacturing did not submit annual emissions reports to the state's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1992 to 2010. Illinois EPA officials investigated the company's facility in November 2010 and found that the firm had not paid permit fees associated with the printing presses.

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  • EPA announces new air pollution standards for industrial boilers

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new regulations in regards to cement kilns, incinerators and industrial boilers on December 21, 2012. According to The New York Times, the standards focus on reducing acid gas, mercury and small-particle emissions across the country.

    Several officials with the National Association of Manufacturers noted that the compliance expenses associated with the rules could cost companies up to $14 billion. These administrators said that the additional EPA regulations may limit expansion opportunities for some businesses.

    However, the EPA estimates that air quality improvements to comply with the new regulations could cost manufacturers around $2 billion. The standards are also designed to give companies several years to comply to reduce the impact on employees and operations.

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  • Research shows air pollution is a significant global problem

    Recent statistics reflect air pollution's impact on people across the globe. According to Time Magazine, a December 2012 analysis published in Lancet showed that more than 3.2 million people suffered premature deaths due to air pollution in 2010.

    U.S. officials have instituted new policies and technologies to help reduce air pollution. The news source notes that urban air is cleaner in the United States and other developed nations than it was 30 to 40 years ago, thanks in part to an increased focus on air quality.  

    Additionally, computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, recently introduced a new smartphone app that could help safeguard Americans against air pollution. Gizmag reports that these researchers created a portable sensor that measures local concentrations of several harmful pollutants, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. The device wirelessly transmits data to users' smartphones, which enables them to evaluate the air quality in numerous locations.

    The Airgle® PurePal® Plus AG850 Air Purifier is a high-end system that helps protect people against potentially dangerous chemicals, odors and particles. This air purifier features an ultra-quiet design and metal-frame housing, which make it ideal for efficient removal of harmful allergens and pollutants. 

  • EPA releases annual pollution enforcement report

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released statistics in regards to its annual pollution enforcement on December 17, 2012. Agency officials said they eliminated 2.2 billion pounds of air, water and land pollution over the past year. Additionally, EPA administrators noted that $252 million in civil and criminal penalties were levied in 2012.

    Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said enforcement was crucial for officials, as administrators used new initiatives to help reduce pollution across the country.

    “We are using vigorous enforcement, as well as innovations in monitoring and transparency, to reduce pollution violations, protect and empower communities and focus on the environmental problems that matter most," Giles said.

    An innovative enforcement actions map was one of several tools that EPA officials provided to communities. The map was designed to increase public accountability to improve environmental compliance and includes information about violators throughout the nation.

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  • EPA examines regulations to control soot pollution

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized air quality standards designed to protect Americans from soot pollution. Fine particles can cause serious health effects such as heart attacks and strokes, and the updated air quality standards are designed to help U.S. counties further protect citizens against these dangers.

    Agency officials said that they anticipate that 99 percent of U.S. counties could meet the revised health standard by 2020, without any additional action.

    "These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act," EPA representative Lisa P. Jackson said. "We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities."

    Fewer than 10 U.S. counties will need to perform actions to reduce fine particle pollution to meet the new standard, which is mandated by the Clean Air Act. Meanwhile, the remaining counties can follow existing federal guidelines to meet the new standard.

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  • Utah officials to develop new air pollution strategy

    The Utah Air Quality Board will create new air pollution guidelines after it deemed its previous standards insufficient. According to The Associated Press, board members said they intend to develop tougher regulations for Salt Lake City and much of the northern Utah urban sector.

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators had set December 14, 2012, as the deadline for Utah leaders to establish up-to-date air pollution standards. However, Utah officials said they will miss the deadline, as these representatives will have more time to develop stricter policies for oil refineries and other industrial facilities.

    "It's better to have the right plan late than the wrong plan on time," Bruce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, told the news source.

    Richard Mylott, an EPA spokesperson, noted that agency officials expect Utah leaders to work diligently to institute new air pollution regulations.

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  • Decreasing air pollution helps raise life expectancy in United States

    Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently discovered a significant connection between the declining air pollution rates in the United States and the rising average life expectancy among the country's citizens. According to News-Medical, the research team found that there have been substantial reductions in air pollution over the past 10 years, which have helped improve life expectancy figures in many areas. However, Andrew Correia, a researcher with the Harvard School of Public Health, cautions that optimum air quality levels have not yet been reached.

    "The U.S. population as a whole is exposed to much lower levels of air pollution than 30 years ago...it appears that further reductions in air pollution levels would continue to benefit public health," Correia told the news source.

    Correia and other researchers collected data between 2000 and 2007 for their evaluation. Group members calculated the mean life expectancy change during this time frame in 545 U.S. counties, and also considered potential variables such as the number of residents who smoked and the socioeconomic status of citizens in these regions.

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  • Alaska parents and teachers fight against air pollution

    Parents and teachers at Woodriver Elementary School in Alaska's Fairbanks North Star Borough are trying to eliminate air pollution from the area. According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, the elementary school was severely hit by wintertime smoke, and local parents and educators have formed a committee to help combat air quality issues.

    A recently approved proposal prevents officials in the borough from enforcing air pollution regulations on home heating devices. However, parents and teachers are reaching out to state administrators to help relieve air pollution problems that have been shown to cause health problems.

    "As the parents, once we started looking into it more it was really concerning," local parent Carrie Dershin told the news source. "Seeing the levels and seeing how extremely poor it was for all the children was really concerning."

    The Airgle® PurePal® Plus AG850 Air Purifier features enhanced technology for chemical, microbe, odor and particle filtration. It is a quality air purifier with an ultra-quiet design, metal-frame housing and a powerful airflow that kills bacteria and viruses and safely breaks down dangerous chemicals and odors.

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