Asian Pollution Hitting U.S. West Coast

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It may not be long before political leaders in the American West start blaming Asia if they struggle to meet federal air quality standards. As if California, Oregon, Washington and other western states don’t spew enough of their own carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, China’s and other Asian countries’ air pollution has gotten so bad that some of it is reaching American territory.

A new study released by the National Academy of Sciences has determined ozone from China and other Asian nations is traveling across the Pacific and adding to levels found over the western United States. Using data collected over 25 years, researchers concluded that the transported air pollution tends to show up in the spring in the U.S.
“It is possible that emissions from emerging economies like China, with relatively limited emissions controls, are outpacing reductions in the developing countries,” reads the report, according to McClatchy Newspapers. The extra air pollution could make it difficult over time for western states to comply with federal limits on ozone, especially if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues tougher standards for such emissions.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Asia-Produced Ozone Making Its Way to U.S., Study Finds (by Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers)        
Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States (Committee on the Significance of International Transport of Air Pollutants; National Research Council)


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