The Philadelphia Diesel Difference Working Group has been formed to help build a coalition of diverse partners with a mutual interest in reducing air pollution from diesel engines in the greater Philadelphia area through voluntary programs and the use of innovative strategies including market-based approaches.
BOSTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A national epidemiologic study finds a strong, consistent correlation between adult diabetes and particulate air pollution that persists after adjustment for other risk factors like obesity and ethnicity, report researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston. The relationship was seen even at exposure levels below the current EPA safety limit.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to celebrate ten years of clean diesel progress, and help chart the next ten years! The conference is October 19-20 at the Walter E. Washington convention center in Washington, DC. Leaders from across the country, key members of Congress, local, regional, state, and federal government policy makers, Air Directors, clean diesel project leaders, and environmental organizations will come together to what’s on the horizon for new clean air technologies, plan strategies and practices, and design a road map for sustained cleaner air for tomorrow!
CARB Releases Report on PM2.5 and Premature Mortality in the State (August 31, 2010) – California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) released a report in which it estimates that approximately 9,000 people in California die prematurely each year as a result of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Most of the 4 estimated premature deaths are in the South Coast Air Basin in southern California, where PM2.5 concentrations are high and where a large portion of California’s population lives. The region with the next largest number of premature deaths is the San Joaquin Valley, with the remainder distributed around the state. [For further information: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/health/pm-mort/pmreport_ 2010.pdf]
Alaska Epidemiological Study Links Increases in PM2.5 Concentrations in Fairbanks With Increased Hospital Visits (August 30, 2010) – A study conducted by the Alaska Department of Public Health in Fairbanks found increased hospital visits associated with higher 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels. Researchers found that there was a 6- to 7-percent increase in cerebrovascular disease-related hospital visits for every 10 microgram per cubic meter (Ng/m3) increase in 24-hour PM2.5 levels the prior day. In addition, there was a 6-percent increase in respiratory tract infection-related hospital visits for patients under the age of 65 for every 10 Ng/m3 increase in 24-hour PM2.5 levels the prior day. [For further information: http://www.epi.alaska.gov/bulletins/docs/b2010_26.pdf%5D
National Academies Report Evaluates Fuel Efficiency Improvements for
Large Trucks (March 31, 2010) – Pursuant to provisions included in the 2007
Energy Independence and Security Act, the Committee on Assessment of Fuel
Economy Technologies for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles at the National
Academies has issued a new report evaluating measures that increase fuel
economy and reduce fuel consumption in medium- and heavy-duty trucks,
including tractor trailers, transit buses and other large trucks. The report notes
that at this time there are no fuel consumption standards for trucks, which
consume an estimated 26 percent of transportation fuel in the U.S. The
Committee looked at a combination of factors, including new technology,
aerodynamics, reduced rolling resistance, hybrid electric drives and drivers’
education, among others, to improve fuel efficiency and reduce fuel consumption
in seven vehicle types over the next decade. They found that “using advanced
diesel engines in tractor trailers could lower fuel consumption by 20 percent by
2020, and improved aerodynamics could yield an 11 percent reduction. Hybrid
powertrains could lower the fuel consumption of vehicles that stop frequently, such
as garbage trucks and transit buses, by as much as 35 percent” during the same
period. The report also estimates the costs and maximum fuel savings achievable
for each vehicle type by 2020, with the lowest cost-benefit ratio going to tractor
trailers that could reduce fuel use by 50 percent at a cost of about $84,600 per
truck, which would be cost effective over 10 years if gas prices were at least $1.10
per gallon. The report also notes that the miles-per-gallon metric is inappropriate
for large trucks; any fuel economy regulations should use load-specific fuel
consumption (LSFC), which measures the amount of fuel a vehicle uses to carry
one ton of goods one mile. Finally, the Committee suggested that one way to
avoid the complexity of regulating heavy-duty trucks all together would be to
impose a fuel tax that would induce fleet operators and truck owners to optimize
fuel efficiency. The Committee noted that another alternative approach to
regulation might be to impose a cap-and-trade program similar to the one being
considered by Congress to reduce greenhouse gases. [For further information:
Air Quality Partnership Gears Up for Ozone Season
Warm summer weather = unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone
As warmer weather approaches, so does the onset of ground-level ozone. Fortunately, ozone levels are being monitored and the public is alerted when levels become dangerous. A program of DVRPC, the Air Quality Partnership (AQP) educates residents about the dangerous effects of ground-level ozone and provides air quality forecasts to the public.
The AQP’s ozone season kicks off in late-April and runs through September. In the summer, sunlight and high temperatures Abake@ pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and other sources of pollution to form high levels of ground-level ozone (ie. smog). The AQP provides summertime ground-level ozone forecasts and encourages voluntary actions to reduce air pollution, such as taking transit and not topping off your gas tank.
This year, the AQP introduced a new air quality alert system. The EnviroFlash Air Quality Alert system is a U.S. EPA email service that allows individuals and organizations to sign up for air quality alerts and receive advisories when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy. Unlike the Partnership’s old alert system, EnviroFlash will allow partners to manage their own alert levels and the format in which the alerts are delivered.
Also in 2010, the AQP elected its new Board Officers. Maureen Farrell, Manager of Operations at Greater Valley Forge Transportation, will serve as Chair; and John Hainsworth, Senior Transportation Specialist at Cross County Connection, will serve as Vice Chair.
For daily air quality forecasts and helpful tips on how to reduce air pollution, visit http://www.airqualitypartnership.org. To receive air quality forecasts and alerts, click on the “sign up for air quality forecasts” button.
An accord was struck on Dec. 18th, 2009 in the Copenhangen Climate Talks which establishes goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while failing to create a legally binding structure to enforce these commitments. While some lauded the deal as an unprecedented achievement, others argue that the resolution is unlikely to constrain future global temperature increases to two degrees–the threshold recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prevent catastrophic effects of climate change.
West Philadelphia High School has taken home another honor, facing down some formidable competition. This time, they are in the final running against 42 other competitors, having eked out dozens of oppenents including MIT in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X prize, worth $10 million.
By Meghan Lewit on November 4, 2009 1:00 PM
Heavy traffic corridors in the cities of Long Beach and Riverside are responsible for a significant proportion of preventable childhood asthma, and the true impact of air pollution and ship emissions on the disease has likely been underestimated, according to researchers at USC.
The study, which appears in an online edition of the American Journal of Public Health, estimated that 9 percent of all childhood asthma cases in Long Beach and 6 percent in Riverside were attributable to traffic proximity.
The study also found that ship emissions from the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex contributed to the exacerbation of asthma. For example, approximately 1,400 yearly episodes of asthma-related bronchitis episodes in Long Beach (21 percent of the total) were caused by the contribution of ship emissions to nitrogen dioxide levels in the city.
Although there has been extensive research on the effects of traffic proximity on asthma risk, this study is one of the few that has estimated the number of cases — or “burden of disease” — associated with traffic in specific high risk communities, said principal investigator Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and deputy director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at USC.
“The traditional approach to estimating the burden of air pollution-related disease has markedly underestimated the true effect,” McConnell said. “Our results indicate that there is a substantial proportion of childhood asthma that may be caused by living within 75 meters (81 yards) of a major road in Long Beach and Riverside. This results in a much larger impact of air pollution on asthma symptoms and health care use than previously appreciated. This is also one of the first studies to quantify the contribution of ship emissions to the childhood asthma burden.”
Such specific data about the local health burden of air pollution is useful for evaluating proposals to expand port facilities or transportation infrastructure in the L.A. area, McConnell noted. Both Long Beach and Riverside already have heavy automobile traffic corridors, as well as truck traffic and regional pollution originating in the port complex, which is the largest in the United States.
The study drew upon data from the Children’s Health Study, a longitudinal study of respiratory health among children in 12 Southern California communities, including Riverside and Long Beach.
Researchers estimated the number of asthma cases and related complications that occurred because of air pollution, using information from epidemiological studies that they then applied to current exposure to air pollution and traffic in Southern California. The results showed that approximately 1,600 cases of childhood asthma in Long Beach and 690 in Riverside could be linked to living within 81 yards of a major road.
“The impact of roadway proximity on the overall burden of asthma-related illness is remarkable,” McConnell said. “Air pollution is a more important contributor to the burden of childhood asthma than is generally recognized, especially to more severe episodes requiring visits to a clinic or emergency room.”
Unlike regional air pollutants, the local traffic-related pollutants around homes and their effects are not currently regulated, he noted.
“This is a challenge to communities, to regulatory agencies and to public health,” McConnell said. “Traffic-related health effects should have a central role on the transportation planning agenda.”
The study, an international collaboration between USC, the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain and the University of Basel in Switzerland, was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Hastings Foundation, the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (Switzerland) and the Fundacion Insitut Municipal d’Investigacio Medica (Barcelona).
The authors acknowledged the insights of the staff and members of the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.
Beginning October 10, 2009, the Pennsylvania Climate Change Action Plan is available for a 30-day public comment period.
Pennsylvania is responsible for 1% of the planet’s man-made greenhouse emissions. On July 9, 2008, Governor Rendell signed the Climate Change Act (Act 70), which included a number of goals, including the preparation of an action plan detailing measures Pennsylvania could take to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Working with the Climate Change Advisory Committee, the Department has prepared this Climate Change Action Report, which identifies 52 specific actions that would result in a 95.6 Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MMtCO2e) reduction of Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Interested persons may submit written comments on Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Action Plan by November 9, 2009. The Department will accept comments submitted by mail or by e-mail. A return name and address must be included in each e-mail transmission. Email comments should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org . Written comments should be submitted to Joseph Sherrick, via the U.S.P.S. to the Department of Environmental Protection, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17105. The Department will not accept comments submitted by facsimile.