Bad Air Day
As if California didn’t have enough of a smog problem all by itself, now it and other parts of the nation are suffering from air pollution blown in from China. Toxic pollutants from power plants, factories, and farms travel on wind currents across the ocean and mingle with our own less-than-perfect air to create an international smog blanket that is particularly acute on the West Coast. The smog is associated with a wide range of health problems, including heart attacks, respiratory difficulties, and premature death. U.S. air quality officials fear that the foreign smog will complicate attempts to regulate pollution and meet clean air standards in California and elsewhere. This week, a team of scientists is launching the Intercontinental Transport and Chemical Transformation 2002 Project, which will collect and analyze air pollution samples through late May to try to trace the path of pollutants across the Pacific.