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Gayle in MD
03-15-2011, 12:12 PM
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Air Pollution And Public Health In North Carolina


News Release

Executive Summary

Air pollution in North Carolina makes people sick and cuts lives short. Air pollution triggers heart attacks and strokes. It causes diseases like chronic bronchitis, asthma and lung cancer. It sends people to the emergency room with respiratory problems, causes asthma attacks, and contributes to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy people. At the root of all of these problems, air pollution irreparably damages lung tissues in ways similar to second- hand tobacco smoke.

In this report, we estimate the health impact of air pollution above natural background levels in North Carolina. The estimates cover particulate pollution (or soot), which comes from smokestacks and vehicle exhaust, and ground-level ozone (or smog), which develops across much of the state on hot summer days as a result of emissions from cars, trucks, smokestacks and other sources. The estimates rely on a number of information sources: 2003 air pollution monitoring data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); statistics about the frequency of health problems from the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. EPA; scientific studies linking air pollution and health problems; and methodology based on similar work from the U.S. EPA and the World Health Organization. Taken together, these sources reveal that air pollution places a significant burden on the health of all North Carolinians.

Many North Carolina residents suffer health problems caused by pollution even at levels that meet air pollution standards.

• Despite the fact that air pollution levels in North Carolina meet health standards during much of the year, even “safe” levels of pollution can cause damage. Scientific experiments show no threshold below which pollution does not have an effect.

Air pollution causes illness in otherwise healthy people.

• Air pollution causes in the range of a half-million missed work days each year, and millions of cases where North Carolinians experience symptoms like shortness of breath or runny nose.

Air pollution causes thousands of people to be admitted to area hospitals every year and increases the burden of chronic disease.

• Air pollution leads to an estimated 6,000 hospital admissions for respiratory disease and 2,000 for cardiovascular disease annually.

• In addition, air pollution causes approximately 1,500 new cases of asthma and 2,500 new cases of chronic bronchitis in adults every year.

• Among asthmatics, soot pollution causes an estimated 200,000 asthma attacks annually, with an additional 200,000 caused by smog.

Every year, air pollution kills thousands of people in North Carolina.

• Air pollution causes about 3,000 premature deaths in North Carolina annually, accounting for between 3 and 7 percent of all deaths not caused by violence or accidents.

• Compared to national statistics, air pollution ranks as the third highest risk factor for premature death, behind smoking and poor diet/physical inactivity.

• Tables ES-1 and ES-2 provide a summary of the health impacts of air pollution in North Carolina, including central estimates as well as upper and lower boundaries of statistical precision.

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.

• Every year, air pollution causes dozens of infant deaths and hundreds of thousands of school absences due to illness. (See Table ES-3.)

• Injuries caused by air pollution in early in life can have permanent consequences.

Aggressive action to reduce air pollution can improve public health and reduce the societal cost of pollutioncaused illness.

In 1999, the two largest sources of North Carolina’s air pollution were coal-fired power plants and automobiles. In 2002, the state Legislature passed the Clean Smokestacks law, which will reduce power plant pollution in-state by more than 70 percent over the next seven years. Reducing pollution from vehicles is the next priority step toward healthy air at the state level. Because emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities located upwind from North Carolina also contribute to the overall problem, action at the regional and federal level will also be required.

State Level Actions:

• Strengthen limits on automobile air pollution in line with New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, California, Oregon and Washington.

• Require retrofitting of diesel engines with particulate filtration systems, including school bus fleets and construction equipment. • Reduce car-dependent land use practices and sprawl.

• Increase transportation funding for transit, rail freight, and other alternative transportation projects.

Federal and Regional Level Actions:

• Fully enforce the Clean Smokestacks Act, pursuing all available means to reduce pollution in neighboring states.

• Restore the New Source Review provision of the federal Clean Air Act and require the oldest coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities in the country to install modern emissions control technology.

• Limit nationwide industrial emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury to between 10 percent and 30 percent of 2000 levels.

• Strengthen national emission standards for cars and trucks to match or exceed standards adopted by California and other states.

CHARLOTTE—With the U.S. House of Representatives poised to consider a more than $300 billion transportation bill, Charlotte leads the nation in air pollution from cars and trucks, according to a report released today by NCPIRG. Charlotte ranks 7th in the nation for the most air pollution from cars and trucks, per capita, among large cities.

"More Highways, More Pollution" finds that building new roads will do little to alleviate traffic congestion in the long run and likely will exacerbate already severe air pollution problems in cities across the country. According to the report, cities with the most highways tend to have the worst air pollution from cars and trucks. Charlotte also ranks 28th for the most highway capacity and 29th for the most miles driven, per capita, among large cities.

"Charlotte’s roads and air pollution go hand-in-hand," said NCPIRG Campaign Director Mike Robertshaw, "and the air pollution is linked to asthma attacks, lung cancer, heart disease and early deaths."

In 2003, Charlotte received a "F" grade from the American Lung Association for its air quality. Air pollution contributes to asthma attacks, lung cancer, heart disease and tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. While the vehicles coming off today’s assembly lines are 80 to 99 percent cleaner per mile than those of the 1960s, cars and trucks remain a leading source of air pollution because of the dramatic increase in driving. Since 1970, the number of vehicle-miles traveled in urban areas has tripled. In Charlotte, people drive a total of 19,807,000 miles every day, or 27.47 miles per resident per day.

"More Highways, More Pollution" analyzes Federal Highway Administration and US Environmental Protection Agency data on highway capacity and vehicle emissions for 314 metropolitan areas in 1999. Key findings include the following:

• Expansion of the nation’s highway network has helped fuel the increase in driving. Building new roads spurs vehicle travel and alters land-use patterns, creating new traffic.

• Cities with more major highway capacity per capita have higher levels of air pollution from vehicles per capita. Charlotte ranks 28th nationwide for the most highway capacity and seventh for air pollution from vehicles, per capita, among large metropolitan areas. Increasing highway capacity in Charlotte will increase air pollution, all other things being equal.

• The average large metropolitan area that expands its highway capacity by 14.6 percent – the national rate of growth in the 1990s – could expect a 10.9 percent increase in nitrogen oxides and a 10.7 percent increase in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), all other things being equal. Both pollutants contribute to the formation of smog, and many VOCs are toxic to humans.

The report recommends that state and federal officials allocate a greater share of transportation resources to programs to reduce the growth in the number of cars on the road and encourage alternative transportation modes, such as transit. In addition, in cities that violate federal health standards for ozone and other pollutants, federal law must continue to ensure that new highway projects do not worsen air quality—a critical Clean Air Act protection known as "transportation conformity."

In February, the Senate passed a six-year, $318 billion bill (S. 1702) to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs. The bill increases federal funding for highways by 40 percent, and it weakens existing clean air protections—specifically transportation conformity. Among other things, the bill would allow large highway projects to be built without first considering their long-term air pollution impacts, which would result in more air pollution from sprawl and poorly planned growth. The House is scheduled to consider its transportation bill within the next few weeks.

"Clearly, with the expansion of the I-485 outer belt and the 170 percent increase in miles traveled in Mecklenburg County and surrounding counties, the expansion of our light rail and bus systems will become more and more important to our region's public health, environment and economy," said Nancy Bryant, President of Carolinas Clean Air Coalition. The highway lobby—car companies, oil companies, developers and others with a financial stake in road building—is pushing to weaken or even eliminate transportation conformity. These special interests poured more than $41 million into the campaign coffers of federal candidates in the most recent six-year fundraising cycle and spent more than $124 million lobbying Congress in 2001 and 2002 alone.

"Representatives Watt, Myrick and Hayes should stand up to the highway lobby and reject any transportation bill that weakens clean air protections for America’s children and seniors," concluded Robertshaw.

http://www.environmentnorthcarolina.org/...cars-and-trucks (http://www.environmentnorthcarolina.org/newsroom/clean-air-news/clean-air-news/charlotte-ranks-seventh-for-air-pollution-from-cars-and-trucks)

<span style="color: #990000"> Hmmm, guess all these high ideas about making North Carolina's air cleaner, will have to just fall by the wayside, now that Republicans have taken over.

Too bad, people vote against their own best interests, I suppose. </span>

03-15-2011, 12:29 PM
Well, the light rail they built has had the huge impact of reducing automobile traffic by .01%.

On the other hand, Charlotte was recently ranked in the top 20 cities for traffic commuter congestion.

Maybe if they would have finished 485, or listened to the engineers who told them that 4 lanes wouldn't be wide enough, some of that pollution could have been reduced.

Once again, you show your ignorance by posting someone elses comments about a topic where you have no firsthand knowledge.

If the point of these posts is to try and make me look bad, it is having just the opposite result...it just shows that you really don't know what your are posting about.

But keep it up. It's entertaining.

Here's how it works. I will yell "PULL" and you release another clay pigeon.

03-15-2011, 12:41 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <span style="color: #990000"> Hmmm, guess all these high ideas about making North Carolina's air cleaner, will have to just fall by the wayside, now that Republicans have taken over.



The problems you are talking about did not just happen in the last 4 months. They are the result of Democrats controlling state government for the past 100 years.


03-15-2011, 12:44 PM
Hey Steve.

Your being stalked by state proxy.

03-15-2011, 01:03 PM
Yes, but we already know who the real stalker on this forum is. Too bad she has no clue what she is talking about.


03-15-2011, 03:38 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <span style="color: #990000"> Hmmm, guess all these high ideas about making North Carolina's air cleaner, will have to just fall by the wayside, now that Republicans have taken over.



The problems you are talking about did not just happen in the last 4 months. They are the result of Democrats controlling state government for the past 100 years.

Steve </div></div>

Unless you are an O-cultist ... then they happened when dear leader says they happened.