Ports of LA, Long Beach approve 2017 Clean Air Action Plan; targeted GHG reductions; zero-emissions on-road drayage by 2035

The governing boards of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach unanimously approved the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update, ushering in a new era of aggressive clean air strategies for moving cargo through the nation’s busiest container port complex. The document provides high-level guidance for accelerating progress... Read more →


Large scale epidemiological study associates PM2.5, NO2 pollution with kidney, bladder and colorectal cancer death

Air pollution is classified as carcinogenic to humans given its association with lung cancer, but there is little evidence for its association with cancer at other body sites. However, in a new large-scale prospective study led by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by the “la... Read more →


Pollutant emitted by biomass burning found to cause DNA damage and lung cell death; the role of retene

A new study by a team from Brazil, with colleagues in the US, has shown that particulate pollution biomass burning in the Amazon induced inflammation, oxidative stress and severe DNA damage in human lung cells. After 72 hours of exposure, more than 30% of the cultured cells are dead, the... Read more →


Mayors of 12 major cities pledge to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025; major areas to be zero-emission by 2030

The mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland and Cape Town have pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030. The signatories of the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration... Read more →


London’s £10 daily “T-charge” for most polluting vehicles now in effect; partnership with Turing Institute

London’s £10 daily “T-Charge” (toxicity), aimed at the oldest, most polluting vehicles on London roads, is now in effect. The T Charge applies mainly to diesel and gasoline vehicles registered before 2006. The T-Charge (officially known as the Emissions Surcharge) operates on top of (and during the same operating times... Read more →


Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today, according to the newly released report detailing the adverse effects of pollution on global health by the The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million... Read more →


California calls for improved air quality monitoring at refineries in the state

California state and local air quality officials released a draft report outlining a range of recommended actions to improve air monitoring at the state’s oil refineries, and strategies to better inform surrounding communities during incidents at refineries that result in increases in pollution or toxic releases. The draft report, the... Read more →


Studies have shown that air pollution can have negative effects on cardiovascular health and life expectancy. Now new research indicates that it is also harmful to the kidneys. The study, which appears in an open access paper in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), shows that the... Read more →


The mode of travel you take on your daily work commute can make a big difference in your exposure to air pollution, according to a new study by researchers at the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The study, published recently in Atmospheric Environment, investigated commuter exposure to PM2.5, black carbon... Read more →


Using new PM2.5 exposure methods, researchers in China have estimated 1.30 million premature deaths in China in 2013 due to PM2.5. Their findings, presented in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, are consistent with other estimates (1.37 million and 1.36 million) calculated using different PM2.5 exposure... Read more →


Metabolomics study finds exposure to PM2.5 leads to increases in stress hormones

Exposure to high levels of PM2.5 air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults according to the findings of a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appear to lessen the negative effects. The research is published in the American Heart Association’s journal... Read more →


A new study, part of the Atlanta Commuter Exposures (ACE) Study, has assessed on-roadway in-cabin particulate pollution (PM2.5) collected from scripted rush hour commutes on highways and on non-highway side streets. Reported in the journal Atmospheric Environment, the study found that levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside... Read more →


In an initial step toward developing a comprehensive global impact assessment framework for PM2.5 emissions, an international team of researchers from the US and Europe has characterized the primary PM2.5 intake fraction—the long-term population intake mass per unit mass emitted into different indoor and outdoor environments. Intake fractions from residential... Read more →


EPA proposes maintaining current NOx standards

Based on its review of scientific evidence, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes retaining the current national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for oxides of nitrogen (NOx). EPA proposes that the current NAAQS don’t need to be changed because they provide the appropriate public health protection, with an adequate... Read more →


China study connects ozone pollution to cardiovascular health

Exposure to ozone, long associated with impaired lung function, is also connected to health changes that can cause cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, according to a new study of Chinese adults. The findings associated ozone exposure with markers of platelet activation and increased blood... Read more →


São Paulo study finds concentration of ultrafine particulates rose by 1/3 in switch from ethanol to gasoline

The concentration of ultrafine particles less than 50 nanometers in diameter rose by one-third in the air of São Paulo, Brazil, when higher ethanol prices induced drivers to switch from ethanol to gasoline, according to a new study by a Northwestern University chemist, a National University of Singapore economist and... Read more →


By Mike Hattingh, RoboVent What’s the best way to control weld fumes from robotic welding? Overhead hoods and full work cell enclosures have long been the standard solution. But new tip extraction technologies are now offering another alternative for many manufacturers who rely on robotic welding. Overhead hoods are a... Read more →


In a study published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, a team from the University of Vermont reports that particulate matter from the combustion of biodiesel blends may be 50–80% less toxic per unit PM mass emitted than PM from petroleum diesel, depending on feedstock. There is growing consensus... Read more →


The largest systematic study ever conducted of human volunteers exposed to ozone air pollution has found no evidence of effects on the heart in its healthy, older participants, but did find effects on the volunteers’ ability to breathe, even at low ambient levels. HEI Research Report 192, Multicenter Ozone Study... Read more →


China study finds associations between PM2.5 constituents and blood inflammation and coagulation

In a new study, a team from China has investigated the effects of various constituents of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on blood inflammation and coagulation. The researchers found robust associations of the constituents—organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), nitrate (NO3–), and ammonium (NH4+)—with at least 1 of 8 inflammatory markers.... Read more →


Study of 60M US seniors strengthens link between air pollution and premature death

A new study of 60 million Americans—about 97% of people age 65 and older in the United States—finds that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone increases the risk of premature death, even when that exposure is at levels below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)... Read more →


CMU study finds SOA levels in cities like LA will remain high despite cleaner cars; nonlinear relationship between SOA and NOx

The findings of a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, with colleagues at UC Berkeley, suggest that changing atmospheric NOx levels over the next two decades will likely significantly reduce the effectiveness of stricter new gasoline vehicle emissions standards in reducing concentrations of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). The study... Read more →


CIEH criticizes UK gov for shifting air quality problem to local authorities, CAZ strategy; wants vehicle crackdown, more ZEVs, ULEVs

The UK’s Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has criticized the Government’s air quality plans for unfairly shifting the burden to solve the problem to local authorities, while abdicating themselves of responsibility. The membership body for environmental health professionals released details of its submission to the Government’s consultation on plans... Read more →


Engineering researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and colleagues have demonstrated a measurement approach to for urban air pollution mapping at 4–5 orders of magnitude greater spatial precision than possible with current central-site ambient monitoring. The team equipped two Google Street View vehicles with the fast-response Aclima Ei... Read more →


Study finds air quality models significantly underestimate traffic as source of NOx in Europe

Traffic contributes more to NOx emissions in Europe than previously thought, according to a new study by a team at the University of Innsbruck. Using urban eddy covariance measurements, the researchers found that traffic-related NOx emissions in current operational air quality models can be significantly underestimated by up to a... Read more →


Study links PM2.5 pollution to heart damage

Research presented at the annual CMR (cardiovascular magnetic resonance) imaging conference of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) links PM2.5 pollution to heart damage. Among the sources of urban PM2.5 are diesel and gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines (earlier post). There is strong evidence that particulate matter (PM) from... Read more →


Based on a three-year study of toxic and environmentally relevant pollutants from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, Swiss researchers have concluded that some GDI engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Further, the GDI particles carry numerous carcinogenic substances. Based on this... Read more →


Researchers show mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles trigger respiratory “flare-ups”

Researchers at Imperial College London, working with colleagues from King’s College London and University of British Columbia, have demonstrated a mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles directly affect the lungs to initiate symptoms such as a tightening of the airways and cough. These triggered respiratory reflexes can potentially worsen underlying... Read more →


A new international study has found that laboratory tests of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles significantly underestimate the real-world emissions by as much as 50%. A paper on the work is published in the journal Nature. The research, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation and Environmental Health... Read more →


By Craig Widtfeldt, RoboVent The automotive industry has made tremendous progress towards greener, more sustainable manufacturing processes. But how green are robotic welding cells? Robotic welding, by its nature, produces large volumes of toxic fumes that are dangerous to both human health and the environment. Manufacturers engaged in robotic welding... Read more →


New study shows that inhaled nanoparticles can travel into the blood and accumulate

A study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands has found that nanoparticles, such as those found in air pollution, can travel into the blood and accumulate in diseased blood vessels. The study, published in the journal... Read more →


In an effort to accelerate the movement to zero- or near-zero emission locomotives, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has petitioned the US EPA take action to adopt more stringent emission standards for locomotives. These new standards are to include standards for newly manufactured locomotives (which ARB refers to as... Read more →


by Craig Widtfeldt, RoboVent The next generation of cars will be cleaner and greener than ever—but a lot of the manufacturing processes that go into them are still pretty dirty. From the frame to the muffler, automotive manufacturing still involves welding, cutting, grinding and machining. These processes can create problems... Read more →


Study finds vehicles more important source of urban atmospheric ammonia than farms

Vehicle tailpipes are a more important source of ammonia’s contribution to urban air pollution than is agriculture, according to a study by researchers from the US and China. The paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. Atmospheric ammonia (NH3) reacts with nitric and sulfuric acids to... Read more →


National Academies report finds EPA’s controlled human exposure studies of air pollution are warranted

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carries out controlled human inhalation exposure (CHIE) studies in which volunteer participants agree to be intentionally exposed by inhalation to specific pollutants at restricted concentrations over short periods to obtain important information about the effects of outdoor air pollution on human health. A new... Read more →


WHO attributes more than 1 in 4 deaths annually of children under 5 years to unhealthy environment

In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports. WHO... Read more →


Georgia Tech study finds link between sulfate, metallic particles from vehicles and adverse health impacts

Metals from brakes and other automotive systems are emitted into the air as fine particles, lingering over busy roadways. Now, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have shown how these vehicle-emitted metals—such as copper, iron and manganese—interact with acidic sulfate-rich particles already in the air to produce an aerosol that,... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) have shown for the first time that black carbon, a major component of air pollution, directly affects bacteria that cause respiratory infections—Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus—thereby increasing the potential for infection and changing the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. S. pneumoniae is the leading... Read more →


A new study, led by a team from The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York, has found that in 2010, about 2.7 million preterm births globally—or 18% of all pre-term births—were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).The open-access study is published in the journal... Read more →


Study finds “markedly” high levels of diesel exhaust present in commuter trains powered by locomotives in pull-mode

Diesel-powered commuter trains may expose their passengers to elevated levels of certain black carbon and ultrafine particles, especially in the coach directly behind the locomotive, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto. A paper on the study is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. Professor... Read more →


Study links air pollution to heightened risk of Type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese Latino children

Latino children who live in areas with higher levels of air pollution have a heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and published in the journal Diabetes. The study, the researchers said, is the first... Read more →


Takata to plead guilty, pay $1B in criminal penalties for airbag scheme; 3 Takata execs indicted

Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. An indictment was also unsealed charging... Read more →


Study finds living near major traffic linked to higher risk of dementia

People who live close to high-traffic roadways face a higher risk of developing dementia than those who live further away, according to a new study from Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, found that people... Read more →


Hyundai “Mobility Vision” concept for integration of car and home; Health + Mobility Cockpit

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, Hyundai Motor revealed its Mobility Vision concept that, in the future, will connect autonomous cars to living and working environments. Hyundai says that its Smart House technology blurs the line between mobility and living and working space, integrating the car... Read more →


Coal-tar-based pavement sealant a major source of PAH contamination in Milwaukee streams

Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is the primary source of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to streambed sediments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a US Geological Survey and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District open-access study published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Pavement sealant is a black, shiny liquid... Read more →


New Mercedes-Benz lab procedure shows MB car filters trap even finest allergenic particles

A new testing procedure developed by Mercedes-Benz, for which a patent application has been filed, has shown that even the minutest of allergenic particles are trapped by the charcoal fine particle filters in the vehicle. The results were confirmed by a medical study conducted by ECARF Institute GmbH in an... Read more →


Imaging study: air pollution impairs function of blood vessels in lungs

Air pollution impairs the function of blood vessels in the lungs, according to a study of more than 16,000 patients presented at EuroEcho-Imaging 2016. EuroEcho-Imaging is the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), representing members around the world with an interest in all modalities of cardiovascular... Read more →


NHTSA sets Quiet Car safety standard for new HEVs and EVs to protect pedestrians

The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians. The new standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, responds to Congress’ mandate in the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of... Read more →


New statistical method to detect ozone pollution hot spots and monitor instrument failure; combining PCA and MEWMA

A new statistical method developed by researchers at KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia) can detect abnormal ozone levels within large bodies of monitored data. The monitoring methods can quickly and accurately detect ozone anomalies—localized spikes in ozone concentration indicated by sensor data. The method could... Read more →


Harvard study finds human health risks from Canadian hydroelectric projects

In a new study, Harvard University researchers found more than 90% of potential new Canadian hydroelectric projects are likely to increase concentrations of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) in food webs near indigenous communities. The research is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. The research forecasts potential human... Read more →