Thursday, May 24, 2007

Smog rolls in for Memorial Day weekend

If you are among the millions hitting the roads for the Memorial Day holiday, I wish you safe driving.

In much of the country, this is considered the start of the “summer smog season,” though the truth is, much of the country has already been beset by unhealthful levels of smog this year.

By the end of April, breathers in seven states were already plagued by dirty air – California, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Maine and Massachusetts.

The smog situation has intensified this week, particularly in the Midwest and Southeast. EPA’s “airnow” service http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.fcsummary&sortby=todayfc&order=desc&stateid=0

warns of particular ozone problems today in such cities as Buffalo, Cincinnati, Columbus, Evansville (IN), Grand Rapids (MI) Louisville, Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls and other areas.

And, keep in mind, these are warning about the current smog standards. EPA’s science advisers and EPA’s professional staff believe those standards are too weak to protect people’s health – that people are being harmed by breathing smog at lower levels.

We will soon have a more comprehensive report on the smog problem – with details about the struggle behind the scenes, as EPA considers the scientific recommendations to set a tougher smog standard.

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