Current government regulations miss key pollutants in Los Angeles region

Sep 29, 2008
Smog above Los Angeles, as seen from the Hollywood Hills. Credit: David Iliff

Existing regulations may not effectively target a large source of fine, organic particle pollutants that contribute to hazy skies and poor air quality over Los Angeles, according to a study scheduled for the October 15 issue of ACS' Environmental Science and Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the study, Ken Docherty and colleagues point out that current air quality regulations target sources of 'primary,' or directly emitted, particles. Yet their new findings indicate that "secondary" or chemically formed, particles contribute more significantly to poor air quality.

The study found that most of the organic haze above the city is not directly emitted by vehicles or industrial processes, unlike previously thought — 75 percent of organic particle pollutants form when reactive, organic gases undergo chemical transformations and condense onto existing particles in the air. "Our study suggests that regulations need to focus much more attention on the organic gases that react chemically in the atmosphere, creating the secondary particles that make up a significant portion of haze," Docherty said.

Article: "Apportionment of Primary and Secondary Organic Aerosols in Southern California during the 2005 Study of organic Aerosols in Riverside (SOAR-1)"; dx.doi.org/10.1021/es8008166

Source: ACS

Explore further: 3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clean smell doesn't always mean clean air

Oct 29, 2014

Some of the same chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere as a result of smog and ozone are actually taking place in your house while you are cleaning. A researcher in Drexel's College of Engineering ...

Mountains and winds confound particle distribution

Nov 05, 2014

Untangling complex relationships requires understanding and facts. Applying both, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory led research finding the true culprits instigating layers of tiny atmospheric particles ...

When thawing glaciers release pollutants

Nov 03, 2014

As glaciers increasingly melt in the wake of climate change, it is not only the landscape that is affected. Thawing glaciers also release many industrial pollutants stored in the ice into the environment. ...

Recommended for you

3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

Nov 21, 2014

Last week, China and the United States announced an ambitious climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions in both countries, a pledge that marks the first time that China has agreed to stop its growing emissions. ...

From hurricanes to drought, LatAm's volatile climate

Nov 21, 2014

Sixteen years ago, Teodoro Acuna Zavala lost nearly everything when Hurricane Mitch ravaged his fields, pouring 10 days of torrential rains on Central America and killing more than 9,000 people.

Nicaragua: Studies say canal impact to be minimal

Nov 20, 2014

Officials said Thursday that studies have determined a $40 billion inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua will have minimal impact on the environment and society, and construction is to begin next month.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.