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Letter: Health hazard

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 9:58 a.m. MST

The pollution that we are breathing does more than be "a negative influence on quality of life," as reported by Envision Utah's survey. It is a health hazard proven to cause respiratory illnesses and autism and is said to be like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

I was grateful to read that Gov. Herbert has budgeted $17 million for research and that scientists at the University of Utah and BYU are examining "just what ingredients contribute to the muck." Researchers "are finding that the majority of fine-particle pollution is not necessarily the result of tailpipe emissions, but may be particles catalyzed by interaction with precursor chemicals."

The two biggest contributors reported are "population growth and the unusual topography of mountain valleys." I appreciate what these folks are attempting to do to clean up our air, but I heard no mention of the refineries that encircle us and continually pump their emissions into our air.

I'm hoping the research scientists can speed up identifying these chemicals before we spend millions on a "transit master plan" or "congestion pricing in which highway drivers pay tolls." It would be better to restrict refineries from pumping their muck into our air during inversion periods. No one has suggested moving them to open, unpopulated areas, but I believe we'd see definite improvement.

Beverly Hansen

Centerville

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