Posts Tagged ‘Latinos’

Al Gore’s Apple core and “new” linkages between smog and crummy health

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

* Oh, Al. Here’s a story you probably haven’t seen about the man who might’ve been president in 2000 and the tech titan that at one point had more money in its kitty than the U.S. Treasury. We are big supporters of Gore here. At the same time, human nature can make hypocrites out of all of us. Interesting life for an anti-global warming crusader when he becomes an entrepreneur.

- From Newsweek’s Daily Beast: ” … Gore promises to be a topic of debate when shareholders gather in Cupertino on Thursday for Apple’s annual meeting. The issue, however, won’t be his compensation as an Apple board member or the atrocious, shameful treatment of those assembling Apple products on the former vice president’s watch. Instead, Apple shareholders are being asked to consider a resolution sponsored by a conservative, D.C.-based think tank that is accusing the company of letting Gore manipulate its policies for his own personal gain. The initiative is being championed by Tom Borelli, who wears the title of Free Enterprise Project Director at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Gore’s supposed crime? Near the end of 2009, Apple resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the chamber’s high-profile opposition to “cap and trade” legislation then being debated in Congress—legislation that would have used economic incentives to cap carbon emissions. The chamber also fought the EPA’s efforts to (finally) limit greenhouse gases and ran a series of ads questioning the science behind global warming.

* From the U.S. Department of Duh: Latinos as a whole face a disproportionate share of air pollution health effects. Let’s see. It couldn’t have anything to do with general poverty that hamstrings where many Hispanics can live or go to school, could it? Freeways, factories and other places that cough up emissions are unsalutory to say the least. Anyway, somebody was paid to write up a study, or summarize a bunch of them, and promulgate the findings and this is a smog blog. Posionous air and health effects have been linked at the hip for half a century and counting now.

- From Emgazine: ” … According to the National Coalition of Hispanic Health & Human Services Organizations (COSSMHO), 80 percent of U.S. Latinos (compared with 65 percent of non-Hispanic U.S. blacks and 57 percent of non-Hispanic U.S. whites) live in so-called “non-attainment” areas where ambient air quality is worse than what the federal government considers safe. “Although Hispanics in general live as long as or longer than non-Hispanic whites, what morbidity data are available reveal that the quality of that life is severely impaired by a variety of chronic conditions, such as asthma,” adds the coalition …”

* Here’s a related story correlating exposure to diesel fumes with cancer. This subject, in our opinion, deserves a lot of scientific attention considering the ongoing debate about fuels in a warming world.

- From Ecowatch: ” … The investigators selected underground mines for their study setting because the heavy equipment used in these mines frequently runs on diesel fuel. In the fairly enclosed environments of these mines, exhaust builds up in the air to levels considerably higher than those found in other occupational settings—like trucking depots or shipyards—and many times higher than the air inhaled by the general population. The investigators selected only non-metal mines because of their characteristically low levels of other exposures that may be related to lung cancer risk, such as radon, silica, and asbestos. Health outcomes associated with exposure to diesel exhaust were reported in two complementary papers. The first documented the risk of dying from any cause, with an emphasis on lung cancer, using data from the full study population (the cohort study). The second (the case-control study) reported on the lung cancer deaths in the cohort study. In the case-control study, investigators obtained detailed information on lung cancer risk factors, including smoking, employment in other high-risk jobs, and history of other respiratory diseases. Both papers reported an exposure-response relationship with higher risks at increased exposure levels …”

If you want to check our cynical meter, please do by reading our book, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles. Pages there are splashed with furrowed brows from the 1950s on about the biological consequences of breathing toxic-laced air.




Nobody said clean air was free in the short term. They said just it was worth it in spades for future generations.

Friday, June 10th, 2011

By 2020, ozone-limiting regulations in the federal Clean Air Act enacted will have saved the country — wait for it — 230,000 lives and $2 trillion. Can we really afford to water down regulations when we net those types of gains? We don’t believe we can. Big Business disagrees in the continuation of a fight that’s been going on since L.A. first smog attack.

* From the Bloomberg story about lungs and politics.

“Cutting ozone pollution using the Clean Air Act will have saved $2 trillion by 2020 and prevented at least 230,000 deaths annually, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a report. Tougher emission restrictions adopted in 1990 helped avoid more than 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, 13 million lost work days and 1.7 million asthma attacks last year, according to today’s report, which measured only the impact of amendments from 1990. By 2020, complying with the amendments would prevent 200,000 heart attacks, 17 million lost work days and 2.4 million asthma attacks, according to the report …”

* Speaking of the dangers of ozone emissions, Latinos are pressing the Obama Administration to keep the pressure on polluters as an environmental justice issue. From the L.A. Times:

“… EPA announced proposed ozone standards of 60-70 ppb in January 2010, but delayed implementing them and in December, said it would submit the issue to a scientific advisory panel. That panel since has endorsed the lower limits. The agency is slated to establish new standards in July. The George W. Bush administration had lowered the limit from 85 to 75 ppb. No urban area of California meets even the 1997 federal standard of 80 ppb. If states fail to meet federal standards, the government can withhold highway funding.
The Latino groups that signed the letter, from California, Texas and other states, are part of a growing environmental movement centered around some of the nation’s most polluted urban areas. Signatories included the Comite del Valle from Brawley, in California’s Central Valley, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. Groups such as East Yard Communities in Los Angeles have been pushing for help with unhealthful air in their working-class neighborhoods, surrounded by freeways and large rail yards. In San Bernardino, air pollution authorities on Wednesday announced a major study of communities around large rail facilities that serve as a main inland hub of goods shipped across the U.S. The study will examine rates of cancer and asthma in those low-income communities …”

* An important Harvard study about traffic emissions has come out. Last year, America’s top 83 top urban areas saw 2,300 premature deaths and $18 billion in public health costs from motorists stuck in congestion. Particulate matter so fine it can penetrate the lung’s natural defenses and enter the bloodstream was a particular danger.

From the USA Today article

” …What the study says is when you are designing and evaluating (transportation) policies, you should take into account the pollution impacts, because they do matter,” says Katherine von Stackelberg of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, a co-author of the study. She says people at risk are those sitting in traffic and others exposed to the polluted air. Researchers evaluated premature deaths resulting from people breathing particulate matter. Previous studies have shown that motor vehicle emissions contribute up to one-third of particulate matter in urban areas. Researchers evaluated premature deaths resulting from people breathing particulate matter. Previous studies have shown that motor vehicle emissions contribute up to one-third of particulate matter in urban areas. “The report highlights the complete failure of elected leaders to adquately invest in new capacity for all modes of transportation,” says Matt Jeanneret, spokesman for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, one of 29 groups that commissioned the study. “Sadly, traffic congestion in America can be summed up this way: Time lost, fuel lost — and now, lives lost …”