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UC Davis Study Says It Found Source of Air Pollutants

Health & Wellness  (tags: CO2emissions, environment, GoodNews, healthconditions, pollution, protection, humans, research, science, scientists, safety, society, discovery, health, disease, investigation, medicine, illness, risks, warning, study )

- 1917 days ago -
Researchers at UC Davis have established, for the first time, a link between toxic substances that pollute the air and what causes them.

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JL A (281)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 9:37 am
UC Davis study says it found source of air pollutants
By Edward Ortiz

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 - 2:22 pm

Researchers at UC Davis have established, for the first time, a link between toxic substances that pollute the air and what causes them.

The research, announced Monday by the California Air Resources Board and the Electric Power Research Institute, holds the potential to better regulate sources of air pollution an issue of great import to the asthma-plagued Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

"People have looked at direct emissions from sources like taking things right out of tailpipes and out of other sources," said Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis, who conducted the study with fellow UC Davis professor Kent Pinkerton.

"What distinguishes us is that we're actually sampling right from the atmosphere in the way we breathe," Wexler said. "Because you don't put your mouth up against a tailpipe."

Establishing a picture of what toxic brew is in the atmosphere and what sources it originates from, plus how those chemicals react, is key to fine-tuning environmental regulation, as well as the costs borne from it, said Will Barrett, policy manager with the American Lung Society.

"The findings are significant in that they underscore the importance of controls on things like wood burning and transportation sources of the most harmful particles that affect the Valley," said Barrett.

"This is especially important for the Central Valley since it is facing some of the more daunting air quality challenges in the nation, particularly due to fine-particulate pollution," Barrett said.

Wexler said the research is seen as a tool for regulatory agencies. "This was one of my objectives to help regulators figure out which sources to regulate so that we're primarily regulating sources that have a high toxicity and not so much the sources of low toxicity," he said.

Someday, the research may have an effect on mitigating asthma rates.

An estimated 11.9 percent of Californians report that they have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives, compared to the national average of 10.1 percent, according to California Air Resources Board data.

The UC Davis research sampled air in Fresno during four weeks in the summer of 2008 and four during the winter of 2009. Mice were exposed to the samples of toxic particulate matter that were captured in order to establish what effect the particles had on their lungs.

The research found that in summer the culprits causing the most toxic air pollution were vehicle emissions and the use of charcoal briquets. Biomass burning for winter heating and vehicle emissions were identified as the worst culprits in the winter.

The recent evolution of instruments known as single particle mass spectrometers made the study possible. Those instruments analyze the composition of chemicals in the atmosphere and 10 of them were used in the study.

"That let us look at the chemical composition of these particles very quickly," Wexler said.

Though promising, Wexler said, the research is preliminary.

"We need more studies this is the first time anyone has done anything like this. Other people need to do similar studies, using the same instrumentation, and in other cities to make sure the results are robust," he said. "Because you're not going to make any big regulatory moves based on one experiment."

Anne F (17)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 10:29 am
Good science work - let's have more actual research on conditions that exist.

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 11:56 am
Vehicle emissions seem to dominate the pollution over there. I found some good news on that front that I think you might know about :) .

JL A (281)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 12:01 pm
Thanks for cross posting to one of my other posts today Stephen. Davis researchers also found in Fresno BBQ grills a primary factor.

Mitchell D (87)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 2:51 pm
Good science, presenting evidence , is what decisions ought to be made upon.

JL A (281)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 2:58 pm
That is indeed the bottom line Mitchell. You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last week

Terry V (30)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 5:42 pm

Pollution is a Global Killer

Joanne D (38)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 8:31 pm
How many people die from air pollution? Isn't it something like 3 million annually? Sometimes those of us who are still alive forget that there isn't a clear cut like where you either die or are not affected. There is a continuum from little effect through some effect through much effect to death. I have this mental picture of our entire country suffering to greater or lesser degree from anoxia, having our brains affected but not being aware of it, as for instance people with sleep apnea are not aware they have it. Well, it certainly would at least partiallly explain certain political positions, for instance those in your other post here:

JL A (281)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 8:35 pm
Thanks Terry for posting the link to the short topical video!
LOL Joanne! In CA cities it is pretty common to see people wearing dust masks to filter what they can if they have to go outside on bad air days and the chief health officer advises schools to have all PE indoors.
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Joanne because you have done so within the last week

Helen Porter (39)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 11:49 pm
DO NOT experiment on animals.

Unless your staff volunteers their own animal bodies. lol

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 12:32 am
Now let's see what decisions follow this study...

Frans Badenhorst (582)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 12:37 am
very good post J......and also a viable study then.....would like to see the next step, keep us posted......THIS will be interesting indeed

JL A (281)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 1:02 am
You cannot currently send a star to Zee because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Giana because you have done so within the last week.

Jaime Alves (52)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 1:32 am

paul m (93)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 5:39 am


Past Member (0)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 6:58 am

. (0)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 1:22 pm

C. C (10)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 3:07 pm
Thanks J.L.

marie C (163)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 4:27 pm

Birgit W (160)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 4:34 pm

JL A (281)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 6:15 pm
You are welcome Bonnie.

Ann W (15)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 6:51 pm
Nomorewood fires on Xmas? What a pity.

Helen Porter (39)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 11:20 pm
already signed

Thanks for the information.

JL A (281)
Sunday February 24, 2013, 11:39 pm
You are welcome Zee.

Anna M (18)
Monday February 25, 2013, 2:43 am
good story, thanks

Ro H (0)
Monday February 25, 2013, 6:45 am

JL A (281)
Monday February 25, 2013, 7:35 am
You are welcome Anna and Ro
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