July 4th fireworks in Central Fresno push fine PM levels off the scale

So a check of the fine particulate matter in Central Fresno on the evening of Jul. 4, 2020 indicates microscopic specks of soot, chemicals and liquid droplets in air measured 150 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) at 10 p.m. corresponding to a ROAR (Real-time Outdoor Activity Risk) Level 5 reading – meaning Very Unhealthy air. … Read more

Pregnant moms living near oil, gas wells may be at higher risk of having low birth weight babies, study finds

The below Jun. 3, 2020 press release is from the University of California at Berkeley. Living near active oil and gas wells may put pregnant people at higher risk of having low birth weight babies, especially in rural areas, finds a new study of birth outcomes in California. The study, funded by the California Air … Read more

Once the pandemic ends what will be the ozone picture in the San Joaquin Valley?

There is just no way to know what way the air-quality pendulum will swing for California’s San Joaquin Valley (or simply, “the Valley”) post-COVID-19, well, not at this juncture, anyway. But, by looking at air-quality trends of the past this could provide a clue. So, two points of reference: 2005, prior to the onset of … Read more

California’s electric-trucks rule will aid in state air-quality improvement, if passed

The below Apr. 28, 2020 press release is from Earthjustice. Today the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated draft of the nation’s first electric truck standard. The rule asks manufacturers to build zero-emission vehicles that would help strengthen public health in vulnerable communities, and is key to tackling California’s longstanding air quality crisis. … Read more

On air quality matters: In looking ahead, will clear skies prevail?

It’s been amazing! Around-the-world reports have been pouring in about how clean air in many parts of the world has become. Countrywide lockdowns and stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders instituted during the COVID-19 outbreak have led to tremendous reductions in not just driving, but public transit use, shipping (on navigable waters) and flying. All of them combined having … Read more

Under COVID-19 cover, mercury emissions increase in air okayed by Trump EPA

Today [Apr. 16, 2020], the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized their plan to gut the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which regulates toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. Since MATS was put in place in 2011, it drastically reduced mercury and other air pollutants, which are linked to breathing illnesses, heart disease, … Read more

With heavy wildfire-smoke inhalation may be heightened heartbeat-stoppage risk: Study

The below is from an American Heart Association Apr. 15, 2020 news release. Exposure to heavy smoke during recent California wildfires raised the risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests up to 70%, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the open access journal of the American Heart Association. Cardiac … Read more

Despite marked progress made, Fresno, Kern, Madera counties remain ‘hot spots’ for dirty wintry air

Wood-burning restrictions in California’s eight-county San Joaquin Valley as of Mar. 1, 2020 were lifted. Though the burning of wood in residential fireplaces, fire-pits, woodstoves, etc. post-Feb. 29, 2020 is allowed, it is however, as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Air District) has stated, discouraged. And, for good reason, obviously: Fine-particulate-matter pollution … Read more

Environmental Protection Network response to clean-car rules-rollback decisive; warns action threatens planet, public health, jobs

It is no surprise that news of the Trump administration’s action to loosen the U.S.’s clean car standards would spark criticism, outcry, response. As the Environmental Protection Network noted, “‘The Trump administration’s rollback of President Obama’s historic Clean Car Standards is an environmental and economic disaster,’ said EPN member Jeff Alson, who served as a … Read more