14 Stories

Study's Message to Americans: 'Our Air Is Contaminated'

Relaxing standards will 'kill a lot of people,' experts warn

(Newser) - Just because air pollution falls below legal limits does not mean you're safe. Indeed, there is no "safe" level of air pollution as pollutants cause an increased risk of premature death even when detected at a fraction of the legal limit set by the EPA, a new study... More »

Volkswagen Is Cheating on Smog Tests: EPA

482K cars ordered recalled

(Newser) - If you drive a Volkswagen diesel model, your car might be getting recalled—though not for safety reasons. The Obama administration has ordered the carmaker to recall about 482,000 cars because, it claims, Volkswagen put illegal software in those cars designed to get around environmental standards, the New York ... More »

Expect More Lightning in Coming Years

Study: Climate change could spur up to 50% more strikes over next century

(Newser) - The US and China are working together to temper greenhouse-gas emissions, which could come in handy now that scientists are saying climate change might cause something else down the road: more lightning strikes. A study in Science says lightning frequency in the continental US could spike by more than 12%... More »

Obama Turning His Back on Environment

Robert Redford is furious about recent ozone decision

(Newser) - President Obama has always claimed to care about the environment. “But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?” asks actor Robert Redford in the Huffington Post . After some of his administration’s recent decisions—like backing off updated ozone standards and giving... More »

Greenies Rage After Obama Drops Ozone Plan

Environmentalists still uncertain how to retaliate against president

(Newser) - Environmentalists are reeling today after President Obama backed away from a plan to enact stricter ozone pollution standards on Friday. And this, only days after the State Department gave preliminary support to a pipeline slated to carry tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast from Canada. "There is shock... More »

Arctic Ozone Took 40% Hit This Winter

Up from previous record of 30%

(Newser) - The ozone layer above the Arctic withered by 40% this winter, according to the UN's weather agency, a stark increase from the previous seasonal record of 30%. The loss was driven largely by frigid conditions in the stratosphere—though surface temperatures were actually warmer than normal—and lingering chemicals banned... More »

The Latest Ozone Villain: Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide nothing to chuckle about, climate scientists say

(Newser) - Nitrous oxide is the new chlorofluorocarbons. A study published today fingers N2O, aka laughing gas, as the most dangerous ozone-depleting gas in the air, Time reports. Nitrous oxide isn’t as dangerous as CFCs, but it’s incredibly common, emitted by everything from fertilizer to sewage treatment plants to cars.... More »

Ozone Kills, Slowly: Study

High-level areas like LA face 50% increase in risk of death from respiratory illness

(Newser) - Long-term exposure to ozone can greatly increase the risk of death from respiratory diseases, the Los Angeles Times reports. An 18-year study of half a million people in 96 cities found that an increase of 10 parts per billion in ozone concentrations correlated to a 4% increase in deaths from... More »

Smog Bad for Your Appendix: Study

Researchers saw more cases of appendicitis on days with poor air quality

(Newser) - Pollution may boost your chances of getting appendicitis, the BBC reports. A Canadian study suggests that human tissue—such as the appendix—gets more inflamed on days when the ozone level is high; patients were 15% more likely to be hospitalized on bad-air days, researchers found. Infections can cause appendicitis—... More »

Bush Stepped In to Weaken Ozone Rules

President overruled EPA scientists on pollution guidelines

(Newser) - President Bush personally intervened this week to loosen the EPA's new guidelines on pollution-causing ozone, the Washington Post reports. By law, separate ozone standards are mandated for protecting the "public health" and the "public welfare," which includes wildlife, parks, and farmland. According to EPA documents, Bush overruled... More »

EPA Ignores Advisers on Pollution Cap

Sets higher limit than own experts' recommendations

(Newser) - Ignoring the recommendations of its own scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday reset standards for pollution-forming ozone from cars and factories at a level critics say may cost thousands of lives. The new cap is lower than the old level but still far above the limit urged by EPA experts,... More »

Gassy Kudzu Choking South

Quick-spreading vine emitting greenhouse gas

(Newser) - It's nicknamed "the vine that ate the South," but experts now warn that the fast-spreading invasive plant is choking more than just power lines, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Scientists have found that the plant emits ozone, making smog worse, leading to health problems—and speeding up climate change. More »

25 Biggest Scientific Discoveries

From the unfathomably small to the mind-blowingly huge, the most significant breakthroughs

(Newser) - The invention of the wheel was pretty good. Fire, even better. But what has science done for us lately? USA Today lists the top 25 scientific discoveries; here are the top 10:
  1. Accelerating universe
  2. Human genome
  3. Climate accord
More »

Calif. Town Is Nation's Smoggiest

Air above tiny Arvin is a magnet for pollutants

(Newser) - Arvin, Calif., proves that you don’t need factories or freeways to have America’s worst air pollution. The agricultural town’s mountain locale collects pollution, the AP reports, giving the air a toxic smell and raising health concerns. The EPA uses the ozone level to gauge smog across the... More »

14 Stories