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: Scientists warn Obama of marine life harm from seismic tests

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The cost of Chinese air pollution

Jan 23, 2015

China's fabled air pollution assaulted Linda Greer, J76, the moment she arrived in Beijing in 2008, on her first trip there for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "I literally could not see down the block," she ...

Recommended for you

Shale gas in doubt in UK's low-carbon transition

30 minutes ago

Academics from Warwick Business School and University College London have published an opinion piece based on research funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) advising policymakers that, because of continuing economic, ...

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.