Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New studies target coal burning, traffic -- and more -- as sources of dangerous particle soot

I want to call your attention to comprehensive new studies on particle soot out this morning by the well-respected Health Effects Institute.   

These studies are very important in helping us understand the dangers of particle soot pollution.  As those of you who have worked in this business probably know, various industry groups have asserted over the years that THEIR soot is benign.  It’s the other guy’s soot that’s problem. (The coal and coal-burning power industries have made that assertion, as have other industries.)

 The new studies make it clear that there’s no evidence yet that any type of soot is benign.  The research singles out sulfate particles – from coal burning and other sources – as particularly dangerous, with traffic pollution only slightly less so.  (The so-called “war on coal” might be better characterized as a “war to protect health.”)

But no form of soot has been exonerated.  More research needs to be done on other sources.

These studies should put to rest the myth that some types of soot are harmless.  They aren’t and it’s not.


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