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.

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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

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.

The High Cost to Society of Idling

Problems caused by idling

There are a number of problems associated with idling:


It’s expensive

Even if the vehicle isn’t moving, if the engine is running, gas and oil are being consumed. With fuel prices as high as they are, few of us can afford to be wasteful. But we are – and to a startling extent! A recent study suggests that during the winter, Canadians idle their vehicles for a combined total of more than 75 million minutes a day, the same as one vehicle idling for 144 years. If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Canada avoided idling for just 5 minutes we would save 1.9 million litres of fuel worth more than $1.9 million.

Vehicle idling is a great concern to for many businesses and industries, particularly those that have fleets of vehicles for moving goods or people. The average long-haul truck idles away up to $1,790 in profits a year.

It’s bad for breathing

Burning fossil fuels like gas and oil produce emissions that aggravate existing heart and lung diseases, and cause respiratory illnesses. For example, two common tailpipe emissions – hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides – react to form ground-level ozone. Ozone irritates and inflames the respiratory tract.

Do you know anyone with asthma? They’ll thank you for not uselessly idling your car. Ground-level ozone has been implicated as a bronchoconstrictor, causing airways to shrink or close, precipitating deadly asthma attacks. According to Health Canada, more than 16,000 Canadians die prematurely every year because of air pollution.

It’s bad for children

Children are particularly vulnerable to poor air quality – they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per pound of body weight. Air pollution tends to be worse in the late afternoon, precisely when driving parents gather to pick up their children, who excitedly rush from school into clouds of exhaust from idling vehicles. Idling vehicles are also a safety issue.  Children are unaware of a vehicles intent when it sits idling.

It’s ineffective

Contrary to popular belief, idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive. In fact, with today’s modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.

Idling only warms the engine, not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission, and tires. These parts also need to be warmed up, and the only way to do that is to get the vehicle moving.

It’s damaging

Idling isn’t good for your vehicle. Here’s why: an idling engine is not operating at its peak temperature, which means fuel combustion is incomplete. This leaves fuel residues that can condense on cylinder walls, where they contaminate oil and damage engine components such as spark plugs. When spark plugs are fouled, fuel consumption increases by 4 to 5 percent. Finally, idling can allow water to condense in the vehicle’s exhaust, causing rust in the exhaust system. As if the mean, salty winter roads weren’t enough to corrode your muffler to flaky brown bits.

Pollution Link to Asthma in Womb & Affects to Genes | Traffic Pollution Study

Pollution link to asthma in womb

Young girl using asthma inhaler

One in ten children in the UK have asthma

Traffic pollution causes genetic changes in the womb which increase a child’s risk of developing asthma, research suggests.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A study of umbilical cord blood from 56 children found “reprogramming” of a gene associated with exposure to compounds in traffic fumes.

The gene was associated with asthma symptoms at age five, the researchers reported in the PLoS ONE journal.

It is the first time pollution has been shown to influence genes, experts said.

In the study, researchers looked at a gene called ACSL3, which is expressed in the lung.

We know that children living in polluted areas have a higher incidence of asthma but what we didn’t know was it was affecting a gene

Dr Keith Prowse, British Lung Foundation

They also recorded the mothers’ exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – a by-product of combustion present in high levels in heavy-traffic areas – during their pregnancy with backpack air monitors.

The researchers found a significant association between chemical changes which control activation of the gene and high levels of maternal PAH exposure.

Although the finding needs to be confirmed in larger studies, researchers say changes in the ACSL3 gene may be help early diagnosis of pollution-related asthma.

Environment

It is an example of an epigenetic change – where environmental factors influence the activity of genes but do not cause structural changes or mutations in the genes.

Previous work suggests the ACSL3 gene is involved in the structure of cell membranes.

But more work is needed to unpick the role of the gene in asthma.

Studies have suggested asthma risk is linked to environmental pollution in early life and the incidence of asthma is higher in areas with high traffic density.

“Our data support the concept that environmental exposures can interact with genes during key developmental periods to trigger disease onset later in life, and that tissues are being reprogrammed to become abnormal later,” said Dr Shuk-mei Ho, study leader and director of the Center for Environmental Genetics at the University of Cincinnati.

She said detecting early signs of asthma could help prevent the disease than can affect as many as 25% of children in areas with high levels of traffic pollution.

Dr Keith Prowse, vice-president of the British Lung Foundation, said the study was interesting.

“We know that children living in polluted areas have a higher incidence of asthma but what we didn’t know was it was affecting a gene.”

“If you look at cord blood and you find the gene has been modified you know the child is more likely to get asthma so you can treat them early.”

He added there were probably many factors contributing to the development of asthma so the issue was fairly confused but in 10 years’ time there would be a clearer picture.

Dr Elaine Vickers, research relations manager at Asthma UK, said: ‘We don’t yet know whether air pollution can actually cause asthma and although this study is very interesting, further research is needed before we can say for sure.

“We do know however that pollution triggers symptoms in two thirds of people with asthma, and many say that a reduction in air pollution would make the single biggest difference to their quality of life.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7888735.stm

https://drivethrulies.wordpress.com/

Lung Association Supporting Drive Thru Moratorium

Lung Association Supporting Drive Thru Moratorium
January 9, 2009

The province’s lung association has thrown its support behind the city’s moratorium on new drive thru’s. Spokesperson Greg Noel says they have been encouraging the public to limit vehicle use for some time, because of environmental and health concerns. Noel says while they may be pursuing change for different reasons, the association is pleased with the debate taking place. Noel notes it is not just drive thrus that cause the Lung Association concern. He says idling vehicles in general can have harmful health effects.

http://www.vocm.com/news-info.asp?id=33540

REPORT | Effects of industrial air pollution on the respiratory health of children

kill-the-fumes


Courtesy of International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Originally published Sep. 2008

Full Report:effects-of-industrial-air-pollution-on-the-respiratory-health-of-children

There is growing concern regarding to the possible effects of air pollution on respiratory health of children in Eleme industrial area of Port-Harcourt Nigeria. A total of 250 children were sampled from six primary schools with pre-nursery facilities for a period of 18 months. Subjects were divided into two zones (A and B), monitored and examined on weekly basis. The effects of four criteria pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide) on the respiratory health of the children were examined with reference to symptoms and diseases such as cough, cold, bronchitis, sinusitis and phlegm. Data were obtained from surveys of socioeconomic status of parents of subjects, three air monitoring stations and on-the-spot measurements of these pollutants and their association with symptoms and diseases analyzed. Results showed that there was a strong association between air pollution and symptoms and diseases among children. The effect was strongest among children below 2 years of age (adjusted OR = 3.5, 95%, CI 1.7-8.3) in the highly polluted zone than in the less polluted area. The higher the age of children, the lesser the susceptibility to these pollutants. These general results constitute a starting point for further research on long-term exposure to industrial air pollution and call for an urgent enforcement of regulatory standards to protect the most vulnerable groups in most of the growing metropolises of the country.

http://www.environmental-expert.com/resultEachArticle.aspx?cid=19294&codi=38643&loginemail=elle-provocateur@sympatico.ca&logincode=187521

Opinion – We have Failed.

We have failed. We have failed to imagine the cost of convenience. We have failed to imagine the cost to our environment, to our health, and to the health of our children. All of these were unintended consequences. So let’s imagine change. Let’s remember that we have done this before when we agreed that smoking didn’t belong in the workplace and that kids on bikes needed helmets. If we could imagine this discussion in the future we are facing – we would recognize that drive-thrus are already a thing of the past.

Trae Robinson