Local Issue | Contact Councillors on the Idling Recommendation

Dear Citizens,

As citizens of London, you have an opportunity to voice your concern for our shared natural environment.  The startling stats can be found below.

The City of London will be making changes to our idling bylaw which was introduced in 1999.  City staff have recommended a one minute anti-idling bylaw with exemptions for temperature only for severe temperatures.

Proposed Amendments June 1st 2009

On June 1st it was amended to three minutes by ETC (Environment & Transportation Committee) and our current temperature exemptions were added back in.  Currently – Toronto is looking at ten seconds.  Burlington is 60 seconds with no temperature exemption.

If you missed the deadline today at 9am for the agenda – you have until the June 15th, 9am, for your comments to be added on as ‘added’ communications.  On the 15th the recommendation will go to council.  On the 22nd – there will be a public participation meeting.

Lastly – please engage your family and friends to write in a brief submission or call our elected officials in support of the one minute bylaw as presented by city staff. (Removing the amendments made at ETC which made it much weaker).  Our councillors want to hear from us.

Thank you in advance for your care and concern for we all breathe the same air.

It is our hope that sooner rather than later municipalities across Canada and the world will find the political will for a 10 second maximum tolerance on idling, as well addressing the infamous drive-thru issue.  Drive-thrus continue to proliferate as climate change escalates and air pollution becomes more and more dire.  For more information contact Canadians for Action on Climate Change: canadianclimateaction@gmail.com

Email addresses | Copy & Paste:

adecicco@london.ca,

bmacdona@london.ca

barmstro@london.ca,

bpolhill@london.ca

cmiller@london.ca

councillors@london.ca

dwinning@london.ca

gbarber@london.ca

ghume@london.ca

husher@london.ca

jbaechle@london.ca

jbryant@london.ca

nancy@nanbran.com

paul@paulhubert.ca

pvanmeer@london.ca

rcaranci@london.ca

sorser@london.ca

seagle@london.ca

tgosnell@london.ca

wloncc558@rogers.com

Please Cc:

Kevin Bain (City of London Clerk) kbain@london.ca

Linda Rowe (City of London Secretary) lrowe@london.ca

The Numbers:

  • Ontario’s smog causes 9,500 deaths per year, medical association says.  Of these 1,000 occurred immediately after times of intense pollution.
  • The research on the human costs of pollution and pollution-related diseases estimated that around 21,000 people in Canada will die from breathing in toxic substances drifting in the air this year with 3,000 of those deaths due to short-term exposure to smog.
  • By 2031, short term exposure to air pollution will claim close to 90,000 lives in Canada, while long-term exposure will kill more than 700,000, the report said.
  • Ontario and Quebec residents are the worst hit Canadians, with 70 percent of the premature deaths occurring in Central Canada.
  • In the past 15 years alone, there has been a fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada.
  • OMA estimates for annual premature deaths (2130) due to smog in Toronto alone were almost three times the number of deaths (831) Health Canada attributes to secondhand smoke exposure for the whole of Canada.
  • In 2008, 80 per cent of those who die due to air pollution will be over 65.
  • 25 Canadians under 19 will die from short-term acute pollution exposure this year.
  • Children are the most vulnerable breathing 50% more air per pound than adults.
  • A child’s breathing zone is lower than adults so they are more exposed to vehicle exhausts and heavier pollutants that concentrate at lower levels in the air.
  • In 2008 there will more than 9,000 hospital visits and 30,000 emergency room visits, and 620,000 doctor’s office visits, stemming from air pollution.
  • Eight thousand people a day die from air pollution. There are 3 million annual deaths, worldwide.
  • Emissions from an individual idling a car in London, will emit nearly the same amount of emissions volume as the total annual emissions from an individual in Bangladesh.
  • More than 20 million people have been displaced by climate-related sudden-onset natural disasters in 2008 alone, according to a new study by OCHA and the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
  • The total number of people affected by natural disasters due to accelerating climate change has risen sharply over the past 10 years, with an average of 211 million people directly affected each year, nearly five times the number impacted by conflict in the same period.
  • April 2009: CO2 hits 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm).
  • Wednesday June 10th – co2 went up again.  It is now at 390.18
  • The human respiratory system can only handle an upper level of 426 ppmv before the blood begins to become acidic after long-term exposure.

The Costs:

  • The national economy: air pollution will top eight billion dollars in 2008, and by 2031 it will go over 250 billion.
  • The Ontario Medical Association estimated that health care costs caused by poor air quality in 2000 would amount to nearly $630 million, not to mention the $566 million in costs due to workers taking sick days.
  • In Ontario alone, lost productivity will cost Canada $349,400 this year. By 2031 that will total over $9 million in damage.
  • Healthcare costs in the province will be $221,800 this year, up to almost $6.5 million total by 2031.
  • Economic damage to quality of life will hit $194,100 in Ontario in 2008, up to $265,000 in 2031 and totalling almost $5.5 million by that time.
  • Economic damage due to loss of life will cost $3,644,100 in 2008, rising to $6,367,200 in 2031, and totalling $115,674,500 by 2031.

Air Releases of Carcinogens by Province

Rank Provinces Air Releases of Toxics
of Carcinogens (kg)
Percentage
1 Ontario 2,736,369 38. 18 %
2 Alberta 1,283,727 17. 91 %
3 Quebec 1,261,851 17. 61 %
4 British Columbia 797,639 11. 13 %
5 New Brunswick 392,403 5. 47 %
6 Manitoba 369,686 5. 16 %
7 Saskatchewan 115,839 1. 62 %
8 Nova Scotia 97,280 1. 36 %
9 Newfoundland 65,029 . 91 %
10 Northwest Territories 29,103 . 41 %
11 Prince Edward Island 18,325 . 26 %

http://www.pollutionwatch.org/

Think drive-thrus are insignificant?  Think again …

idling-report-markham1

We have used the calculations provided to us in this study (idling times are completely in line with Tim Horton’s own study (3-4.5 minutes) & with the national average of 3.84 seconds) to produce a very conservative number for the total number of emissions, etc. produced in London drive-thrus.

London has 156 drive-thrus – so we have based our amounts on (29 x 5) 145 as opposed to 156 to keep our results conservative.

Here are the results: (City of London only)

  • Idling time: 108, 795, 760 minutes.
  • Fuel Wasted: 2, 175, 925 litres of fuel wasted.
  • Emissions: 590 tons of carbon dioxide & other pollutants.
  • To offset this amount of pollutants in one year we would need to plant 29,220 trees.
  • Fuel wasted – enough for an average car to circle the globe 425 times.

And this is ONLY London based on only 150 drive-thrus. Imagine the result from all cities in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, in the world.

For more info. on this study (data) please contact us at councilofcanadians.london@sympatico.ca

We thank Dave De Sylva for taking the time, effort, (out of pocket) costs and conviction to produce this report.

https://drivethrulies.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=309

Idling at drive-thrus creates health problems

Idling at drive-thrus creates health problems  | Beverley J. Anderson is the air quality educator for the Williams Lake Environmental Society, in partnership with the Williams Lake Air Quality Roundtable

Published: June 05, 2009 7:00 PM

People like drive-thrus.  So do fast food chains, since drive-thrus supply more than half of their business.

Banks have now gotten into the act, and there are even plans for drive-thru pharmacies.

You can enjoy a donut and coffee, burger and fries, transfer funds to your chequing account, and fill your prescriptions without ever leaving the car.  No problem.

Except, that is, for a little environmental problem caused by people idling their cars in drive-thru lineups.  Idling is when the motor is running but the car doesn’t move.

Forty-five seconds of idling burns the same amount of fuel it takes to drive one kilometer.

Calculations drawn from a Canadian survey (NRCan’s website) of driving habits and behaviour suggest that many Canadian motorists idle their vehicles for about eight minutes a day (especially in the winter) resulting in a combined total of more than 75 million minutes of idling a day.

This day alone uses more than 2.2 million litres of fuel and produces more than five million kilograms of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and is equal to the amount of fuel required to drive more than 1100 vehicles for a year or to idle one vehicle for 144 years!

The popularity of drive-thrus means longer lines and longer wait times, which means more idling.  Environmentalists, city governments, and TV reporters have noticed.

A CBC news team recently staked out a restaurant drive-thru in Winnipeg for one hour, and not long before that natural resource economists from the University of Alberta observed a restaurant in Edmonton for 54 hours.

In both cases the average wait for every car was just over 5 minutes.

Their study also found that motorists in Edmonton spent almost 5,000 hours idling at drive-thrus annually; it was also estimated that, at a single fast-food outlet outlet, the carbon dioxide emissions were 385 kg per day, or about the same amount of emissions as 17,300 SUVs create on the road.

And what about the potential health hazard to drivers essentially bathing in fumes while waiting in line or the staff who are serving at the windows and have no choice but to breath this in?

The provincial health officer has identified fine particulates (one of the pollutants in vehicle emissions) as the most serious form of air pollution in B.C. when it comes to direct impacts on people’s health.

To top it off, idling for just 15 minutes a week (say, two minutes and a bit for a coffee every day) burns through an extra $60 to $100 of fuel a year, and with the rise in fuel costs we are seeing these days, this will only increase.

If this were in Toronto, London, Niagara Falls, Richmond or any other Canadian city with anti-idling rules, they would also be breaking the law.  Idling bylaws usually make three minutes the legal cutoff.

Other sources such as Natural Resources Canada division of the federal government recommend cutting the engine after 10 seconds.  After that you’re wasting more gas than you would use to restart your car. They focus heavily on what is good for your vehicle — and your wallet.

They report that restarting your car has little impact on the starter and fuel pump: http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/dont-drive-through.

Any wear and tear incurred is more than made up in the fuel savings.

More than anything, cars and trucks are not designed to idle.

Excessive idling can cause grease, grime and other build-up to accumulate on other engine parts.

Plus, if every Canadian motorist avoided idling for just three minutes every day of the year, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 1.4 million tonnes annually. This would be equal to saving 630 million litres of fuel and equivalent to taking 320,000 cars off of the road for the entire year.

Eliminating unnecessary idling is one easy action that Canadians can take to reduce their GHG emissions that are contributing to climate change

Everyone agrees, however, that idling comes down to every driver’s choices. So, next time you’re in a rush to get a coffee, why not beat the smog-filled line-up snaking around the building and just park.

Chances are you’ll be in and out faster than you would if you were still waiting in the drive-thru.

Beverley J. Anderson is the air quality educator for the Williams Lake Environmental Society, in partnership with the Williams Lake Air Quality Roundtable.

Phone 250-392-5997 or e-mail bevanderson09@gmail.com for more information.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/bc_cariboo/williamslaketribune/lifestyles/47007192.html

Pollution Can Change Your DNA in 3 Days, Study Suggests

Pollution Can Change Your DNA in 3 Days, Study Suggests

Ker Than
for National Geographic News

May 17, 2009

Breathing in polluted air may wreak havoc on our DNA, reprogramming genes in as few as three days and causing increased rates of cancer and other diseases.

So says a new study that tracked DNA damage in 63 steel-foundry workers in Brescia, Italy, who, under their normal factory conditions, were exposed to particulate matter.

The same damage may occur in city dwellers exposed to normal air, the researchers say.

Particulate matter includes suspended, tiny bits of dust, metal, or soot in the air, which can lodge deep in the lungs. Exposure to the substance has been linked to respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and heart problems.

Scientists know little about how inhaling particulate matter can cause health problems, according to lead study author Andrea Baccarelli of the University of Milan.

But they did find that exposed workers’ DNA was damaged by a slowed rate of “methylation,” a biological process in which genes are organized into different chemical groups.

Fewer groups means that fewer genes are expressed—or made into proteins—a crucial process in the body’s regular maintenance.

(Learn how DNA works.)

Reduced-size gene groups like the ones observed in the new study have also been found in the blood DNA of lung cancer patients.

Widespread Damage

In the study, the workers’ blood was sampled on the morning of the first day of their workweeks—before they were heavily exposed to the foundry’s air—and again a few days later.

Comparisons between the two samples revealed significant changes in the methylation of four genes that may suppress tumors, said Baccarelli, who presented his research May 17 at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego, California.

You might not have to be a steelworker to sustain this kind of genetic damage, Baccarelli added.

It’s true that air near the steel foundry contains about ten times more particulate matter than ambient—or normal—air, and a larger fraction of foundry-air particles are metals.

But the team speculates that the same damage can occur in city dwellers—the effects, however, take weeks or months to show up.

For instance, Baccarelli has done previous research that shows elderly people in Boston had DNA damage from breathing in particulate matter.

But Baccarelli added that “our results need to be confirmed in air pollution studies before they can be extended to the general population.”

(Related: “Scentless Spring? Flower Smells Blocked by Pollution.”)

Take Your Vitamins?

John Heffner is professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University and a past president of the American Thoracic Society.

The new study strengthens the link between particulate inhalation and lung cancer, said Heffner, who did not participate in the research.

“Other investigators have shown that inhalation of particulate matter affects DNA through the methylation process,” he said.

“What these investigators have done is show that the genes affected are ones that are known to be related to the development of lung cancer.”

Related work by Baccarelli’s team also raises the possibility that methylation damage from particulate matter can be slowed or even reversed with folic acid, a vitamin naturally found in many foods.

The vitamin “may make methylation machineries more efficient,” lead study author Baccarelli said.

“We found that subjects with higher intakes of methyl nutrients were protected from some of the cardiac effects of particulate matter.”

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/090517-pollution-changes-dna_2.html

Asthma Tech by Jonathan Ng | National Film Board

Filmmaker Jonathan Ng turns the notion of otherness on its head in his semi-autobiographical animated short about young, whimsical, asthmatic Winston. As a result of his illness, Winston is unable to participate in the everyday activities of his peers and classmates. But thanks to his artistic ability Winston learns to use his imagination to escape his real life existence.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Worldwide Statistics: Eight thousand people a day die from air pollution. There are 3 million annual deaths, worldwide. In Canada toxic emissions from transportation continue to rise drastically. Vehicles are the primary sources of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates and benzene, a carcinogen. In the past 15 years alone, there has been a fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada. In fact, the Ontario Medical Association estimated that health care costs caused by poor air quality in 2000 would amount to nearly $630 million, not to mention the $566 million in costs due to workers taking sick days. We are in a world wide public health crisis epidemic as a direct result of air pollution amidst a climate change crisis that threatens human survival on this earth – expanding services which promote unnecessary idling for convenience is not only reckless and irresponsible – it is the absolute opposite direction we need to be taking.

more about “Asthma Tech by Jonathan Ng, – NFB“, posted with vodpod

As we, the entitled, sit on our big fat asses in the drive-thru …

As a Canadian, I am absolutely ecstatic when the warm weather FINALLY arrives.  The past month has been beautiful with sun & perfect temperatures of 15-20 degrees Celsius.  It is not totally bizarre that already at least half of the drivers have their windows closed tight with the air conditioning on?  The drive-thru line ups have never been longer.  Even when the weather is so incredibly beautiful – we still somehow cannot get our big, fat, lazy asses out of our vehicles.  As obesity rates skyrocket, as our smog days increase, as more and more of our children develop asthma and as the last of our arctic sea ice disappears … we are our own worst enemy. Idling Canadians spend over 630 million bucks a year going nowhere while belching CO2 and asthma-causing pollutants into the same air we like to breathe. In the grand scheme of things – drive-thrus may be a small contributor to climate change.  But make no mistake – they do contribute & they do contribute to pollution and sickness.  The sad truth is – they are nothing more than a ‘convenience’ to 99% of the population – something we should easily make a choice to give up.  And yet we don’t and we refuse to do so. Because it is ‘our choice’ to pollute others and harm our ecosystem.  Our ‘choice’ has superceded our oldest natural instinct in the world – to protect our children.  How messed up is this?  This is a disturbing and frightening commentary on our society and our values.  A society gone mad.

CO2 hits 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory

Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii  (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm) in the month of April 2009.

Here is another report:

lancet-climate-change

Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission

Managing the health effects of climate change

Executive summary | Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century

Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk. During this century, earth’s average surface temperature rises are likely to exceed the safe threshold of 2°C above preindustrial average temperature. Rises will be greater at higher latitudes, with medium-risk scenarios predicting 2–3°C rises by 2090 and 4–5°C rises in northern Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. In this report, we have outlined the major threats—both direct and indirect—to global health from climate change through changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events, and population growth and migration. Although vector-borne diseases will expand their reach and death tolls, especially among elderly people, will increase because of heatwaves, the indirect effects of climate change on water, food security, and extreme climatic events are likely to have the biggest effect on global health.

A new advocacy and public health movement is needed urgently to bring together governments, international agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), com-munities, and academics from all disciplines to adapt to the effects of climate change on health. Any adaptation should sit alongside the need for primary mitigation: reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to increase carbon biosequestration through reforestation and improved agricultural practices. The recognition by governments and electorates that climate change has enormous health implications should assist the advocacy and political change needed to tackle both mitigation and adaptation.

Management of the health effects of climate change will require inputs from all sectors of government and civil society, collaboration between many academic disciplines, and new ways of international cooperation that have hitherto eluded us. Involvement of local communities in monitoring, discussing, advocating, and assisting with the process of adaptation will be crucial. An integrated and multidisciplinary approach to reduce the adverse health effects of climate change requires at least three levels of action. First, policies must be adopted to reduce carbon emissions and to increase carbon biosequestration, and thereby slow down global warming and eventually stabilise temperatures. Second, action should be taken on the events linking climate change to disease. Third, appropriate public health systems should be put into place to deal with adverse outcomes.

While we must resolve the key issue of reliance on fossil fuels, we should acknowledge their contribution to huge improvements in global health and development over the past 100 years. In the industrialised world and richer parts of the developing world, fossil fuel energy has contributed to a doubled longevity, dramatically reduced poverty, and increased education and security for most populations.

Conclusions and recommendations

This report raises many challenging and urgent questions for politicians, civil servants, academics, health professionals, NGOs, pressure groups, and local communities. Climate change is potentially the biggest global health threat in the 21st century. Our response requires a new public health movement that is multidisciplinary and multisectoral, and that leads to coordinated thinking and action across governments, international agencies, NGOs, and academic insti-tutions. Any adaptation interventions must sit alongside the need for primary mitigation: reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, recognition by governments and electorates that climate change has enormous health implications should assist the advocacy and political change to tackle mitigation and adaptation.

Whichever mitigation strategies are chosen by governments or agreed at the Copenhagen conference, the move to a low-carbon economy will have global health benefits and these must also be emphasised. More research is needed on win-win solutions, which are equally important in developed and developing countries.

We have proposed a framework for responding to the health effects through adaptation strategies, which in turn embeds mitigation strategies to improve human health worldwide.

This framework raises several important issues for action:

• Climate change mitigation and adaptation are essential elements to overall development policy. They are not separate issues that can be divided from the agenda for poverty alleviation or for closing the gap on social inequalities and health.

• The most urgent need is to empower poor countries, and local government and local communities everywhere, to understand climate implications and to take action. Health professionals and university academics have an important catalytic role. Multi-disciplinary groups from higher education institutions can have a forceful role in engaging with community leaders, civil society organisations, and students in these debates. There is a need for new financing for global links between developed and developing countries that create a two-way dialogue. Developed countries can help to strengthen capacity for high-quality research and information collection in developing countries, and developing countries can strengthen the ability of developed countries to understand sustainability and low-carbon living. Empowerment is as much about community mobilisation as high-level political action. The empowerment process is likely to be pluralistic and chaotic, but health and academic communities can do much to support and catalyse these processes.

• An agenda for developing countries must be developed through global cooperation. Representation on global task forces to assess the health effect of climate change is heavily skewed in favour of institutions in developed countries. In poor countries, health assessments and high-level climate science and health surveillance research are a priority. New research and advocacy groupings in Africa and south Asia are needed, and the academic community of developed countries must have a role in lobbying for resources and support. Food and water insecurity are early effects of climate change and will be a high priority for poor communities. Distilling academic findings into simple language, policy briefs, and user-friendly media is essential.

• Climate change should be integrated into the entire discourse of our present and should be taken into consideration for all governance actions. An advocacy movement must ensure that the health effects of climate change are placed high on the agenda of every research and development funder, philanthropist, academic journal, scientific conference, professional meeting, and university or school curriculum. Academics should lead advocacy within their own spheres of influence.

• Accountability mechanisms are crucial. We hope that this report will initiate or stimulate new funding and networks to monitor what is happening in government, civil society, academia, local government, and communities, especially in the most vulnerable populations. Accountability indicators should be monitored by the academic community and civil society organisations. It should be possible to agree upon health and climate change goals and targets for the processes of engagement and empowerment. Global and regional conferences and working groups to develop these outputs would be valuable in the same way that previous reports published in The Lancet have stimulated action on child survival, nutrition, and maternal health through the countdown to 2015. A biennial review of progress towards agreed targets would help to accelerate progress through celebration of success and identification of areas where progress is lagging.

• Awareness of health risks can have an important role in strengthening carbon mitigation debates and targets. Joint statements from national institutes of medicine, representative bodies such as royal colleges, journal editors, organisations such as the Climate and Health Council,175 and university leaders worldwide, drawing upon a growing evidence base, can create a solidarity and authority that politicians will find hard to resist. The priority is to send clear messages to the Copenhagen conference in December,

http://www.thelancet.com Vol 373 May 16, 2009 1729 2009, emphasising the health consequences of climate change, even with a 2°C increase in temperatures (which is now broadly accepted as inevitable), with estimates of the severity of health effects at warming up to 4°C. Public and policy maker recognition of the profound meaning of the existence of threats from climate change to nature’s life processes, to the productive and stabilising ecosystems upon which we depend, and hence to human health and survival, will have great effect on the seriousness and urgency with which we approach this unprecedented challenge.

• The frequently observed state of fragmented health systems, with little attention paid to long-term sustainability, must give way to the development of coherent, population-based, and bottom-up health planning. Health systems must not act only as a platform for the delivery of clinical services but also provide the foundation for an effective public health response to the many climate-induced threats to health. This action will require more attention being paid to the organisational and management deficiencies of ministries of health, including subnational health governance and management structures. Long-term strategies and investments will be needed to develop the clinical and management human capacity of health systems. Some countries will also need to address the currently unregulated and disorganised private sector to harness existing resources to better serve the public interest. Many countries currently lack any coherent long-term and sustainable development agenda for their health systems. This needs to change.

• The move to a low-carbon economy will have global health benefits from both a reduction in the health effects of climate change and improvement in human lifestyles, and these must be emphasised. There must be more research on win-win solutions, which are equally important in rich and poor countries. For example building new green cities in the developed world, which minimise the need for cars and maximise exercise, will contribute to the fight against obesity. In poorer countries, developing water and energy systems, which are operated by local renewable sources of power, cuts reliance on imported fossil fuels and empowers local community groups.

• Building low-carbon and climate-resilient cities in emerging economies that adapt to continuing rural–urban migration, driven both by economic development and climate effects, is important. More than a third of the world’s population now live in urban areas in low-income or middle-income nations. Even Africa has 40% of its population in urban areas, a number that is larger than that in North America. Worldwide, the numbers of people injured or killed by storms and floods, and the amount of economic damage caused and insurance claims made, especially in these urban areas, have increased.

• Three priorities for action in urban areas are to improve the capacity and accountability of local and municipal government, to change their relation to informal settlers, and to ensure that government policies encourage rather than hinder the con-tributions to adaptation made by individuals, community organisations, and private enterprise.70 Urban developments could use climate-resilient engineering on sites at low risk of water or food stress, and provide sustainable low-carbon transport and other infrastructure. A new approach to urban planning to ensure healthy food supplies, adequate exercise, clean air, clean water, devolved health service structures, and education might provide a model of what we mean by a climate-adapted public health response.

High-income countries have caused almost all the anthropogenic climate change that has occurred to date, and they must now face extremely challenging political and economic choices if climate change mitigation is to be achieved. The UCL Lancet Commission has recognised Antonio Gramsci’s pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will in tackling this issue. The academic community has a crucial role in facing up to the challenge of climate change, the health consequences we shall bequeath to our children and grandchildren (panel 7), and in helping to inform and support a policy process that will challenge us all.

What is a practical way to take the challenge forward? We call for a collation of global expertise on the health effects of climate change leading up to a major conference within the next 2 years, which will define the priorities for management, implementation, and monitoring. Representation from developing countries should be emphasised. The conference should bring representatives of all interested groups together to share experiences, and to discuss and endorse a set of key indicators and targets (climate and health adaptation goals developed by an international expert working group) for concerted global action. A key element of this action programme should focus on ways in which the poor nations can develop their own capacity to monitor problems, and to improve the evidence base for policy makers and planners. We believe a biennial review of progress towards agreed targets would help to accelerate progress through celebration of success and identification of areas in which progress is lagging.

Air Pollution Endangers Lives of Six in 10 Americans | Drive-thrus Contribute

Air Pollution Endangers Lives of Six in 10 Americans

WASHINGTON, DC, April 29, 2009 (ENS) – Six out of every 10 Americans – 186.1 million people – live in areas where air pollution endangers lives, according to the 10th annual American Lung Association State of the Air report released today.

Some of the biggest sources of air pollution – dirty power plants, dirty diesel engines and ocean-going vessels – also worsen global warming, the Lung Association says in State of the Air 2009.

As America deals with the linked challenges of air pollution, global warming and energy, the Lung Association urges Congress, the U.S. EPA and individuals to choose solutions that help solve all three challenges together.

Nearly every major American city is still burdened by air pollution, and the air in many cities became dirtier since last year, the report finds, despite “substantial progress” made against air pollution in many areas of the country and more attention paid to the environment by America’s growing green movement.

“This should be a wakeup call. We know that air pollution is a major threat to human health,” said Stephen Nolan, American Lung Association National Board Chair. “When 60 percent of Americans are left breathing air dirty enough to send people to the emergency room, to shape how kids’ lungs develop, and to kill, air pollution remains a serious problem.”

State of the Air 2009 includes a national air quality report card that assigns A-F grades to communities across the country and details trends for 900 counties over the past decade.

The report ranks cities and counties most affected by the three most widespread types of pollution – ozone, or smog; annual particle pollution; and 24-hour particle pollution levels.

The report finds that air pollution hovers at unhealthy levels in almost every major city, threatening people’s ability to breathe and placing lives at risk.

“The more we learn, the more urgent it becomes for us to take decisive action to make our air healthier,” said Nolan.

Many cities, like Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Baltimore have made improvements in their air quality over the past decade.

Only one city, Fargo, North Dakota, ranked among the cleanest in all three air pollution categories.

Seventeen cities appeared on two of the three lists of cleanest cities: Billings, Montana; Bismarck and Sioux Falls, North Dakota; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, and Pueblo, Colorado; Farmington and Santa Fe-Espanola, New Mexico; Honolulu, Hawaii; Lincoln, Nebraska; Midland-Odessa, Texas; Port St. Lucie, Florida; Redding, Salinas, and San Luis Obispo, California; and Tucson, Arizona.

The three cities most polluted by ozone are all in California – the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metropolitan area; Bakersfield, a center of agriculture, petroleum extraction and refining, and manufacturing in the San Joaquin Valley; and Visalia-Porterville, a San Joaquin Valley agricultural community.

Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pennsylvania tops the list of cities most polluted by 24 hour fine particle pollution, while the three California cities that top the most polluted ozone list are close behind in this category and also for year-round particle pollution.

Ozone

In March 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted a new, tighter standard for ozone pollution. The new standard showed that unhealthy ozone levels are more widespread and more severe than previously recognized.

Evaluating the most recent data against the new standard, the American Lung Association found that approximately 175.4 million Americans – 58 percent – live in counties where ozone monitors recorded too many days with unhealthy ozone levels, far more than the 92.5 million identified in the State of the Air 2008 report.

Sixteen cities making this year’s 25 most ozone-polluted list experienced worse smog problems than last year.

The Lung Association’s review found consistent improvements in ozone in some cities, such as Los Angeles, with its long-standing ozone problem.

But two cities, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Las Vegas, have higher ozone levels than 10 years ago.

Ozone is the most widespread form of air pollution. When inhaled, ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn. The health effects of breathing ozone pollution can be immediate. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks. Breathing ozone pollution can even shorten lives.

“More than 175 million Americans live in areas with unhealthy smog levels — that’s 80 million more than we identified in last year’s report,” said Charles Connor, American Lung Association president and chief executive. “We at the American Lung Association believe that the new ozone standard is not yet strong enough to protect human health — an opinion nearly all scientific experts share.”

In March 2008, the EPA adopted a standard of .075 parts per million, ppm, after legal action by the American Lung Association forced the agency to complete a formal review. This standard is not as strict as the standard of .060 ppm recommended by the Lung Association.

The association, along with states, public health and environmental groups, has taken the EPA back to court in an attempt to force the agency to adopt the .060 ppm standard before its scheduled five-year review in 2013.

Particle Pollution

State of the Air 2009 grades counties for both 24-hour and year-round levels of particle pollution – a toxic mix of microscopic soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols.

“It is the most dangerous and deadly of the outdoor air pollutants that are widespread in America,” the Lung Association says in its report, warning that “breathing in particle pollution can increase the risk of early death, heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for asthma and cardiovascular disease.”

One in six people in the United States lives in an area with unhealthy year-round levels of fine particle pollution (termed annual average levels).

Nine cities in the list of the 25 most polluted by year-round particle pollution showed measurable improvement, including five cities that reported their best year-round levels since the Lung Association began tracking this pollutant: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Atlanta, York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The annual average level of particle pollution worsened in a dozen cities, including Bakersfield and Los Angeles, California and Houston, Texas.

Roughly three in 10 Americans live in counties with unhealthful spikes of particle pollution which can last from hours to days (termed 24-hour levels).

Thirteen cities had more days, or more severe days, of spikes than in last year’s report. Eleven cities have improved continually since the 2007 report.

New data show that women in their 50’s may be particularly threatened by air pollution and that diesel truck drivers and dockworkers who are forced to breathe exhaust on the job may face a greater risk of developing lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

California researchers have tripled their estimate of the number of people that particle pollution kills each year in their state.

“The science is rock-solid. We now know that air pollution can impair the lung function of even the healthiest people,” said Norman Edelman, MD, American Lung Association chief medical officer. “Air pollution worsens asthma and is a direct cause of heart attacks, which makes people living with lung and heart disease especially vulnerable.”

Dr. Edelman suggests that people living in areas of high particle pollution “must recognize that this is the fact of their lives, and they must be more careful about other life factors – stop smoking, eat well, exercise.”

In addition, Dr. Edelman suggests, people who live with particle pollution “must take action help us and other organizations to change the EPA regulations. It’s personal, it’s affecting them and their neighbors.” In addition, he said, they can take local political action to change regulations such as engine idling, and clean up diesel-powered school buses.

Low income people and some racial and ethnic groups often face greater risk from pollutants. Pollution sources like factories and power plants may be closer to their homes, the Lung Association points out. Many live near areas with heavy highway traffic or have poor access to health care, which makes them even more vulnerable. Some racial and ethnic groups have a higher prevalence of diseases like asthma or diabetes, which compounds the ill effects of air pollution for these groups.

“We need to renew our commitment to providing healthy air for all our citizens — a commitment the United States made almost 40 years ago when Congress passed the Clean Air Act,” Connor said. “After four decades, we still have much work to do.”

“America needs to cut emissions from big polluters like coal-fired power plants and ocean-going vessels,” Connor said. “We need to fix old dirty diesel engines to make them cleaner and strengthen the ozone standards to better protect our health. We also need to improve the decaying infrastructure of air monitors. America must now enforce the laws that help us improve our nation’s air quality.”

CLEANEST U.S. CITIES

Cleanest U.S. Cities for Ozone Air Pollution *Cities below had equal scores.

  • Billings, Montana
  • Carson City, Nevada
  • Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
  • Fargo-Wahpeton, North Dakota-Minnesota
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Laredo, Texas
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Port St. Lucie-Sebastian-Vero Beach, Florida
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Cleanest U.S. Cities for Short-term Particle Pollution (24 Hour PM2.5) *Cities below had equal scores.

  • Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  • Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville, Texas
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Corpus Christi-Kingsville, Texas
  • Fargo-Wahpeton, North Dakota-Minnesota
  • Farmington, New Mexico
  • Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Longview-Marshall, Texas
  • Midland-Odessa, Texas
  • Oklahoma City-Shawnee, Oklahoma
  • Portland-Lewiston-South Portland, Maine
  • Pueblo, Colorado
  • Redding, California
  • Salinas, California
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, California
  • Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, California
  • Santa Fe-Espanola, New Mexico
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Tucson, Arizona

10 Cleanest U.S. Cities for Long-term Particle Pollution (Annual PM2.5)

  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Santa Fe-Espanola, New Mexico
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Great Falls, Montana (tied for 4th)
  • Flagstaff, Arizona (tied for 4th)
  • Farmington, New Mexico (tied for 6th)
  • Anchorage, Alaska (tied for 6th)
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Bismarck, North Dakota (tied for 9th)
  • Salinas, California (tied for 9th)

MOST POLLUTED U.S. CITIES

10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Ozone

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, California
  2. Bakersfield, California
  3. Visalia-Porterville, California
  4. Fresno-Madera, California
  5. Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, Texas
  6. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, California-Nevada
  7. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  8. Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury, N.C.-S.C.
  9. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
  10. El Centro, California

10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Short-term Particle Pollution (24 Hour PM2.5)

  1. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pennsylvania
  2. Fresno-Madera, California
  3. Bakersfield, California
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, California
  5. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, Alabama
  6. Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
  7. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, California-Nevada
  8. Logan, Utah
  9. Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin (tied for 9th)
  10. Detroit-Warren-Flint, Michigan (tied for 9th)

10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution (Annual PM2.5)

  1. Bakersfield, California
  2. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pennsylvania
  3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, California
  4. Visalia-Porterville, California
  5. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, Alabama
  6. Hanford-Corcoran, California
  7. Fresno-Madera, California
  8. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana
  9. Detroit-Warren-Flint, Michigan
  10. Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, Ohio

Visit www.lungusa.org to search local air quality grades by zip code.

Plea to Medical Profession | Our Moral Obligation | Dr. Lise Van Susteren

Our Moral Obligation

I am a doctor. A psychiatrist. Over the years I have heard many troubling stories about the human condition. I have worked with individuals who were “on the ledge” emotionally. I have worked with people who fantasize about killing people, and some who have. I have listened to people recount being tortured, abused. I have evaluated the psychological states of foreign leaders who threaten world security. I have heard the details about children who have died at the hands of people who were out of their minds with drugs or illness. People have died in my arms, dropped dead at my feet.

Nothing has prepared me for what I am currently hearing: scientists all over the world warning us about the threat of catastrophic and irreversible climate change.

As a member of several organizations that involve professionals working in the field of mental health, I am stunned that this threat to the health of the planet and the public is so underplayed by these organizations and their members. An official from one leading organization expressed regrets that she was unable to attend a recent forum wrestling with the psychological and mental health aspects of climate change and noted, “no one on the staff is interested.” The person she anointed in her place cancelled.

One of the missions of these associations is to relieve human suffering. As practitioners we help people to face reality. We chip away at their denial knowing it can be a cover for behaviors that destroy their lives. When they see the world more clearly, we urge them to take charge – warning of the dangers of being passive.

Scientists every day are telling us that climate change is happening far faster than anyone had predicted and that the magnitude of the problem is unfathomable. “We have an emergency,” warns NASA scientist James Hansen. “People don’t know that. Continued ignorance and denial could make tragic consequences unavoidable.”

Why are the organizations and their members, those most skilled at exposing the danger of denial and destructive behaviors, so silent about this crisis? Are they in denial themselves? Surely the science isn’t disputed. Surely we don’t believe that destroying life on our planet is “not our problem.”

Our canon of ethics says we have a duty to protect the public health and to participate in activities that contribute to it.

Where, then, are the journal articles, the committee reports, the mission statements, action plans, letters to the editor, presentations, etc that attest to the gravity of what we are hearing? Where are the recommendations that show how to break through denial and get people to change – quickly? Are we not the very organizations to seize upon warnings and confront the world before it is too late?

We see through resistance, excuses, faulty reasoning. We “get” urgency, we “get” life-long consequences. We see the anger, anxiety and depression caused by the mistakes and shortcomings of a previous generation. We know about trauma from repeated exposure to horrifying events. We are trained, indeed we are ethically bound, to respond to emergencies.

What are we waiting for?

We are already seeing wildfires, floods, sea level rise, storms, droughts, risks to our national security, and a mass extinction.

Lethal global overheating – strike the innocuous sounding “global warming” – is not something that may happen in the next century or even mid-century – it is happening now.

All of us, urgently and collectively, have a duty to warn our patients, co-workers, families, neighbors, friends. We have a duty to act – within our professional organizations, in our communities, offices and homes. Climate scientists are desperately trying to tell us to reduce our carbon emissions – to stop building new coal plants, to switch to clean renewable energy, to embrace energy efficiency – to “pay any price, bear any burden.”

Mental health professionals vigorously endorse requirements to report cases of child abuse. It is a legal obligation, but it is also a moral one.

Is it any less compelling a moral obligation, in the name of all children now and in the future, to report that we are on track to hand over a planet that may be destroyed for generations to come?

I respectfully request that we, as mental health professionals, make a unified stand in support of actions to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lise-van-susteren/our-moral-obligation_b_187751.html