Fresh Air News

  • 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.

  • New EPA rules may force the shut-down of power plants

    Approximately 32 coal-fired power plants will be forced to shut down, and an additional 36 facilities may have to shut their doors in order to comply with the new Environmental Protection Agency's federal air pollution regulations, according to an Associated Press survey.

    These plants make up some of the oldest and dirtiest facilities in the United States, and they generate incredible amounts of energy to provide for the nation's power grid. More than 22 million homes are powered by these plants, the source reports.

    The move away from these plants is being made to reduce pollutants from creating poor air quality. In the home, professional-grade air purifiers can assist in removing potentially harmful toxins for those wishing to provide better indoor air quality for their families.

    Groups on both sides of the issue are debating the potential strain the shut-downs may have on the industry, as even more units will need to be idled in order to install updates and new pollution controls to bring them up to standard.

  • Court grants Texas' appeal to delay implementing interstate air pollution rules

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the State of Texas' request to delay implementing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on December 30.

    The EPA regulation is aimed to cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by posing new rules that will affect power companies in 27 states. For homes concerned about air quality until the new regulations are met, medical-grade air purifiers can assist in removing hazardous air toxins.    

    "The court’s decision to issue a stay of the EPA's legally flawed cross-state air pollution rule is a prudent one that now gives the court time to review the regulation and its burdensome effects on Texas," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

    Abbott argues that the new regulations will jeopardize the reliability of Texas' electrical grid, threaten jobs and increase energy prices. Claims have been made against the EPA suggesting that the agency failed to comply with state laws, which require Federal Agencies to include all affected parties in any rule-making process. The case should be heard this spring.

  • Is burning wood bad for your health?

    A study published by the American Chemical Society's (ACS) journal found that the small invisible particulates created by wood smoke may have several severe health effects. Known as wood smoke particulate matter (WSPM), the tiny items used for home heating may create unnecessary health risks.

    During the winter months, air pollution rises significantly due to an increase in wood burning. For both economic and sentimental reasons, wood-burning fireplaces and stoves become a popular home heating option.

    In homes that burn or neighbor wood-burning stoves, placing medical-grade air purifiers in bedrooms may cut down on prolonged exposure. This can greatly decrease the potential negative health effects associated with wood burning. Wood burning increases the likelihood of developing a heart attack in adults, a stroke in post-menopausal women, aggravating current respiratory problems and contributes to asthma in young children, reports the LA Times.

    Science Daily reports that WSPM contains aromatic hydrocarbons that work as a human carcinogen. These negative health effects can have permanent effects on a person's health. The change from wood-burning stoves to those that burn faux logs coated in natural gas may be a potential answer for a beneficial change. A medical-grade air purifier can also help to combat potentially harmful pollutants.

  • LA pollution control agency increases rebate for gas log

    Rebate increases for gas log range from $125 to $200 by the Air Quality Management District, according to the LA Times. The rebates are available through the Healthy Hearths initiative launched by AQMD in 2008.

    The rebate was created in order to entice consumers to consider changing their existing wood-burning fireplaces to fake log sets fueled by natural gas. This has been proven to radically reduce the production of fine particulates that can have a negative effect on health.

    Combining the switch with an investment in quality, home air purifiers may be enough to reduce the particulates in the home. The exposure to PM2.5 can elevate the risk of premature death from heart disease in older adults and the likelihood of strokes in post-menopausal women.

    Other potential medical conditions may include the aggravation of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and bronchitis. For those interested in obtaining a rebate, it does work on a first-come, first-serve basis and there is a limited amount of funds available. Homeowners may wish to consider checking out the potential changes sooner rather than later.

  • Kennecott Utah Copper accused of violating Clean Air Act

    A lobbyist group made up of mothers and doctors is suing Kennecott Utah Copper over mining dust pollution that they claim violates the United States Clean Air Act. The group is blaming the company, which mines one of the largest pits in the world, of contributing up to one-third of Salt Lake County's pollution.

    The company responded to the claims by saying the accusations are without merit, according to the Huffington Post.

    "Kennecott has and continues to operate within the parameters of its air permits and is consistently in compliance with U.S. EPA and Utah Division of Air Quality regulations, which are based on strict standards for protecting human health," the company said.

    Utah's chief air regulator did acknowledge that the company has been violating a 1994 Environmental and Protection Act law that limited the company to hauling only 150 million tons of ore a year. However, the state has allowed Kennecott to mine as much as 260 million tons most recently.

    Medical-grade air purifiers may assist in keeping indoor spaces free of the pollutants named in the suit.

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