Thursday, June 30, 2011

EPA’s goals to curb coal plant pollution – will they improve air quality?

Air pollution - a valid concern
outdoors and indoors.Air pollution has always been a hot topic -- especially for people living close to industrial complexes and in urban environments -- and if the turnout at a recent public comment session is anything to go by, then it will be an important issue for many years to come.

Several hundred people came together in Philadelphia last week to share their expertise, opinions, experiences and concerns about coal plant pollution in a meeting with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The people who testified included environmentalists, physicians, mothers and fishermen, among others. Worried about emissions of mercury, arsenic, nickel, chromium and acid gases, they urged EPA to update the standards that limit the amount of air pollution that coal-fired plants can release into the atmosphere.

Mercury, for example, builds up in ocean and freshwater fish and can be highly toxic for people who eat them.

"Young children are uniquely vulnerable to the toxic effects of environmental poisons such as mercury and arsenic," said Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, medical director of the poison control center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, in an article  from AP. "These compounds are especially dangerous to the developing brain and nervous system."

Opponents to new standards argue that the costs would force some plants to shut down and electricity prices to rise.

According to the article, the regulations would require power plants to install technologies that would limit the emissions, resulting in what the EPA said would be a 91 percent reduction of the mercury in burned coal from being released into the air.

The rules would also further limit other pollutants, including particles such as dust, dirt and other fragments associated with a variety of respiratory ailments.

EPA researchers estimate that the proposed emission limits would annually prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 12,200 hospital and emergency room visits and 120,000 asthma attacks. The updated standards would give coal-fired facilities up to four years to reach compliance.

If you are concerned about this subject, you can voice your opinion in writing. The EPA will accept written comments from the public until July 5.

Source: Associated Press

Take control of your indoor air quality

While industrial pollution is still being debated, businesses and workers can take simple steps to make sure they breathe the purest air possible indoors - after all, we spend more than 90 percent of our time in enclosed spaces.

These steps include controlling sources of indoor air pollution (for example, chemical cleaners, contaminated ventilation systems, etc), regular maintenance and using an air cleaner to purify the air and avoid sick building syndrome.

Electrocorp air filtration systems remove a wide range of airborne pollutants with a deep bed of activated carbon for chemicals, gases and odors as well as particle filters (pre-filters, medical-grade HEPA or Super-HEPA), the safest and most effective filtration technologies on the market today.

Contact one of our air quality experts for more information.

View the original article here

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