July 9, 2009

Wood smoke top cancer-causing air pollutant in OR

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Cuddling up in front of a fireplace may seem romantic, but remember that wood stoves and fireplaces are the leading cause of cancer-causing air pollution in Oregon. The piece in today’s Oregonian by Scott Learn is  one of several recently based on new EPA air-toxics data. And it’s accompanied by a graphic showing that the risk is greatest – no duh – in Portland and Eugene, as well as one showing what parts of Portland are most dangerous.  Learn does a good job putting into perspective the overall risks of death from air pollution.

Meanwhile, in the Puget Sound area, the Port of Tacoma was pounding its chest over air-pollution reductions yesterday, and those sentiments were dutifully passed on by Tacoma News Tribune reporter Kelly Kearsley. In Seattle, wood smoke and pollution from the nearby port – especially old, dirty trucks driven by just-scraping-by independent truck owners – combine with heavy traffic to increase cancer risks from air toxics in the working-class south end of town.

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