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: Power plant standards could save thousands of US lives every year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New technology tracks tiniest pollutants in real time

Sep 26, 2014

Researchers may soon have a better idea of how tiny particles of pollution are formed in the atmosphere. These particles, called aerosols, or particulate matter (PM), are hazardous to human health and contribute ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

Sep 23, 2014

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

The underestimated risk of ethanol fireplaces

Sep 01, 2014

Ethanol fireplaces are becoming more and more popular. However, they are not only highly combustible – in the past, severe accents have occurred repeatedly with decorative fireplaces. The devices also pollute ...

Recommended for you

Rating the planet's oceans

11 hours ago

The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth's oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the ...

Feds to unveil cleanup plan for nuke waste dump

14 hours ago

After nearly eight months, the U.S. Department of Energy has formalized a plan for cleaning up the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

User comments : 0