The Sentinel editorial, May 5, 2013

More than 40 people gathered around a large table in Carlisle Thursday night doing something very important: They talked.

They talked about the lasting, damaging effects of Cumberland County’s toxic air at a public forum hosted by the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania, an event spurred by The Sentinel’s three-day special report about air quality. Their attendance — not to mention their great ideas — is a sign that many in this area are serious about the issue even if our politicians appear not to be.

Many of those in attendance expressed their frustration that elected officials took a pass on dealing with the issue.

Read more:

http://cumberlink.com/news/opinion/editorial/our-view-our-air-a-grassroots-effort-reborn/article_5184199e-b425-11e2-bc60-0019bb2963f4.html

Smog alert ahead

http://cumberlink.com/news/opinion/columnists/guest/guest-editorial-smog-alert-ahead/article_83047dce-ae8f-11e2-bd59-001a4bcf887a.html

Summer will soon be here and that can mean high levels of air pollutants in our air, specifically ozone and small particles, commonly known as smog.

Meteorologists declare “Air Quality Action” days when they project that weather conditions are conducive for unhealthy air pollution. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) called 12 “action days” for the Susquehanna Valley.

We should heed those warnings. Recent scientific studies conclude that short-term exposure to unhealthy air pollution can have significant adverse effects on pregnant women, children, the elderly and even the general population — especially those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma.

Short-term symptoms resulting from breathing high levels of ozone and fine particulate are chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion. These pollutants also aggravate bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma — and can increase risks of stroke.

Children, senior citizens, and those with asthma or other respiratory problems are urged to limit outdoor activities when an action day is predicted.

The quality of the air we breathe is a fundamental component of our overall health. The physiological effect of short-term ozone exposure is being unable to inhale to total lung capacity. Small particles, or PM 2.5, can be especially dangerous because they can travel deep into human tissue. Scientific studies over the last two decades have shown that exposure to high levels of PM 2.5 can raise the incidence of heart and pulmonary disease, cancer, infant mortality, low birth-weight babies, and even impaired cognitive function.

Air Quality Action days are often declared when there is little wind, and when the amount of ozone or particles in stagnant air could exceed federal health standards.

The DEP monitors local and regional air quality. Local television and radio stations alert the public to an Air Quality Action day prediction. Check your newspaper’s websites as well. The Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania also monitors pollution levels at its website, and posts notices when DEP declares an Air Quality Action day. Go to: cleanairboard.wordpress.com

On Air Quality Action days, the public can take simple, voluntary actions to help reduce the chances of creating even more health-impairing pollution. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends 10 steps:

1. Instead of driving, share a ride, take public transportation, walk or bike.

2. If you must drive, avoid excessive idling or jack-rabbit starts, and try to consolidate errands.

3. Don’t refuel your car, or only do so after 7 pm.

4. Avoid using outboard motors, off-road vehicles, or other gasoline powered recreational vehicles.

5. Wait to mow your lawn until late evening or the next day. Also, avoid using gasoline-powered garden equipment.

6. Use latex paints instead of oil-based paints, solvents, or varnishes that produce fumes.

7. If you are barbecuing, use an electric starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid.

8. Limit or postpone your household chores that will involve the use of consumer products.

9. Conserve energy to reduce energy needs.

10. Keep your car well maintained to limit excess emissions.

As more scientists and public health officials have studied air quality, more links have discovered between pollution and illness. Our local monitoring and notification systems work like other public information systems that warn of danger and possible threats to our health. They work to protect us, and it is, therefore, wise to pay attention to them.

submitted to Sentinel by Thomas Au

Carlisle Air Quality Hourly Updates

After many months of maintenance work, the Clean Air Board’s air quality monitor is back on line.  Go to the Sentinel webpage to check current readings for particulate matter.

http://cumberlink.com/app/weather/air/ 

Particle pollution numbers rise for Carlisle area

From the Sentinel – cumberlink.com

HARRISBURG — Particle pollution continues to be a concern in Central Pennsylvania, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2012 report released Tuesday.

And it’s a concern that seems to only be getting worse.

The Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon metro area went in the opposite direction of much of the rest of the country when its number of bad air days for particle pollution increased from 4.3 to 6.3 days per year, shifting the area’s rank from 39th worst in the country to 17th.

Read more: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/particle-pollution-numbers-rise-for-carlisle-area/article_a0cb738e-8e6b-11e1-a4ff-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz1t4FYPUIJ

Carlisle Road Diet Wins CABBIE Award

Carlisle road diet project wins second award

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Since its planning stages, Carlisle’s road diet has attracted a lot of attention – positive and negative attention.

Now that it’s done, the project is also winning awards.

The Borough of Carlisle tonight will receive an award from the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania for the project, which was already honored in October with a project of the year award by the Mid-Atlantic Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Dickinson College, Clean Air Board honor duo for research: Sentinel News

Dickinson College, Clean Air Board Honor Duo for Research

March 6, 2008: Sentinel News

By Staff Reports

Excerpt:

The Dickinson College department of Physics & Astronomy and the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania presented awards to Howard Long, physics professor emeritus, and John Steigleman, retired department technician, for their pioneering air quality research from 1973-1980.

Long and Steigleman received 2008 Clean Air Board Bold Innovators for the Environment (CABBIE) awards for their work in monitoring airborne pollutants in the Carlisle region.

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