Monday, January 23, 2012

Ozone a problem across the Charlotte region, study finds

The unhealthy air documented by monitoring devices in Mecklenburg and Rowan counties is just as bad in neighboring counties, a study by Catawba College and Davidson College scientists shows.


Air monitors in Mecklenburg and Rowan keep the official record of the Charlotte region's ozone pollution levels, which are improving but still above federal standards. Catawba College's Center for the Environment and Cindy DeForest Hauser, who teaches chemistry at Davidson, wanted to test the air in surrounding counties.

Volunteers from seven counties - Mecklenburg, Rowan, Cabarrus, Iredell, Davidson, Gaston and York County, S.C. -- placed devices to measure ozone and nitrogen oxide levels in their backyards over an eight-week period last June and July.

Levels were the same, on average, in all seven counties. But week-by-week comparisons showed differences. Levels in unmonitored Cabarrus County, for instance, appeared higher than those in Rowan, which the American Lung Association last year deemed the nation's 17th-smoggiest county.

The take-home message: Pay attention to Air Quality Index ozone alerts, regardless of where you live in the region. "In our own outreach, we find that a lot of people in these surrounding counties don't realize there is an issue," said Center for the Environment director John Wear.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

In 1986, Charlotte's air exceeded the EPA's 8-hour ozone standard on 58 days. In 1996, our air exceeded the standard on 22 days. Two years ago, it exceeded the ozone standard on just eight days -- and the EPA has toughened its ozone standards considerably since the 1980s.
Results like that could put the EPA's air quality division out of business. So the agency fought for and won much tougher standards.
The EPA's new 75 parts per billion standard, coupled with a longer ozone monitoring season, will put close to 70 percent of the country's metropolitan areas and almost 40 percent of non-metropolitan areas in violation. And what were once considered "healthy" air days may now result in ozone code warnings.
That will likely triple or quadruple the number of days in which the area's air is in "violation" of the EPA's standards, says Joel Schwartz, an air quality expert with the American Enterprise Institute.
"People are going to think air quality is getting worse when it is the best it has ever been," he says.
(more)
http://clclt.com/charlotte/a-bunch-of-hot-air/Content?oid=2147925

dj

Anonymous said...

The Big O(zone)  10/2010

Last week, the Charlotte area made the American Lung Association's top 10 most ozone polluted city list, sliding in at No. 10.
That's not something I spend a lot of time worrying about, given the massive and ongoing declines in air pollution here and across the country due to much stricter automobile pollution and industrial emissions regulation from the Clinton and Bush administrations. Even with its surging growth, Charlotte's air is cleaner than it was a decade ago and much cleaner than it was two decades ago.
Still, making the list does indicate that Charlotte has a higher level of ozone than most places. That is probably because we spend so much time in our cars stuck in traffic while going from place to place. In the 1980s and 1990s, folks around here were so eager to see growth that they'd approve almost any development just about anywhere without giving much thought to whether two- and four-lane roads could carry all the traffic.
(more)
http://clclt.com/charlotte/the-big-ozone/Content?oid=2175395

dj

Anonymous said...

In recent years we doubled the number of cars in the area and cut pollution in half, but today we are to believe the sky is falling because of a new study that shows surrounding counties have the same low numbers as Mecklenburg? Sounds like a success for Mecklenburg....unless they lower yet again the standards we have to meet.....

dj

a chemist said...

That 3 strongly-biased comments should be posted within the first two hours of release of this Article by anonymous "citizens" is suspicious and may suggest computer generation.

The only individual referenced, Joe Scwartz, while holding a Degree in chemistry, is hardly an expert and certainly not without bias that comes with employment at AEI.

Ozone is a strong oxidant, similar to Chlorine, and is very reactive with all life(incl. vegetation/food). There is NO MINIMUM LEVEL that prevents this activity.

Ozone is harmful to life to some degree when existing. Do not be misled. EPA Regulations are consistent with many other Nations around the World.

Anonymous said...

"Ozone is harmful to life to some degree when existing. Do not be misled."

Pretty sure life as we know it is also not even possible without ozone in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, this "anonymous" guy sure is busy. Trying to single-handedly debunk air pollution?

All standards change over time - based on Science (unless you're a repuglican). With your logic we might as well throw out air bags, hand-washing and condoms. I mean, if it was safe enough for the neanderthals....

Feel free to go outside on Code Red days and suck it up. But leave the rest of us from your fantasy land.
lovingly, anti-anonymous

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:51:

To whom are you responding?

StephenParrish said...

Provide a graph of ozone for Meck and surrounding counties measured using the old standard and new. If the line is declining, things are improving. It should decline in both curves. If Meck levels are comparable to the surrounding counties then this is completely overblown. Control for topology and indigenous biomass, compare Charlotte to comparable regions if the difference using the same standards is slight, compare wealth and quality of life. Tradeoff.

StephenParrish said...

No link to the report in a blog post? 21st Century, heard of it?

Anonymous said...

StephenParrish said...
"Provide a graph of ozone for Meck and surrounding counties measured using the old standard and new. If the line is declining, things are improving. "

A lot more transparency and a lot more detail would be welcomed, letting us decide what the data shows.
The article did state that levels were declining, thus things have been getting better for decades. The EPA simply keeps making attainment more and more difficult, to keep them relevant. The article failed to present that fact.

dj

Anonymous said...

a chemist said...
"That 3 strongly-biased comments should be posted within the first two hours of release of this Article by anonymous "citizens" is suspicious and may suggest computer generation."

Scary--a chemist that misses obvious details. Each post is signed "dj"--me. Two are quotes with links to articles in Creative Loafing, one is a fact I heard presented at a "townhall" meeting in Charlotte on the run-up to Blue Line construction.

Computer generated? Ah yep...I copied, pasted, and posted with my computer...makes me invalid?

dej

Anonymous said...

" "In our own outreach, we find that a lot of people in these surrounding counties don't realize there is an issue," said Center for the Environment director John Wear"

This must give John a lot of sleepless nights--his job and paycheck are dependent on a non-problem that a lot of people don't know is a problem.

dj

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