Clearing the air: That air you're breathing may be slowly killing you

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  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 15, 2012 10:56 a.m.

    Re: Hutterite American Fork, UT
    "We know, in utah, that man cannot modify climate. So whatever our air quality, we didn't do it and we don't have to fix it."

    Each year in the United States an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. It is the height of hypocrisy to express concern about our clean air while enjoying the financial benefits of tobacco.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 14, 2012 2:12 p.m.

    Air pollution? We didn't do that, someone else did it! Under my plan, we'll all live longer--- Barack Obama 2012

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2012 1:59 a.m.

    What if all of us put just one or maybe two solar panels on our roof every year? The effect would add up. Quickly.

    What if those who drive those old smoke-belching diesel pick-ups were taxed at ever higher rates as their trucks got older? I'm talking ten-fold higher taxes each year. They would disappear.

    What if we stopped debating if global warming exists and simply agreed to pursue clean, life sustaining energy? If your dog poops while you are out walking in the park, pick it up. Don't be putz. If you open a gate, close it. Think of others. It's just common courtesy to clean up after yourself.

    We should be stewards of the earth, but many apply only one metric to any decision: economics. The old saying, "You can buy anything in this world for money" was never truer. Those who refuse to clean up after themselves sell their birthright for pottage. And the earth groans as it is polluted and ruined. It is abusive. It is sinful. This our corner of the garden. Let's take care of it.

    We can make a difference.

    More importantly, we should.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    The air must not be killing us fast enough, because our average life expectancy is longer than it's ever been.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 12, 2012 4:18 p.m.

    Re: ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    "I would gladly pay $10/gallon for gasoline if it meant my kids could breathe clean air."

    I suppose you'd also gladly pay the farmer the added cost to plant and harvest his crops, the truck driver the added cost to deliver it to your food store, and the food store the added costs associated with heating and cooling the building.

    Perhaps a better solution would be to limit the free transportation we provide our politicians, including Obama, to travel around the world pretending to achieve some lofty goal.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 1:56 p.m.

    When some people say "transportation" many people think of gas or diesel fueled motor vehicles and the roads they drive on. I think of mass transit. I am glad this article focused a lot on mass transit and the challenges involved with it. Unless the challenges are clearly expressed, the solutions will be even more difficult to implement. When Governor Herbert gave his State of the State address this year he said something about a great plan he had in mind to reduce pollution along the Wasatch Front, and that he was going to announce the specifics of his plan the next week or two. To my disappointment, he said something like: "Drive less."

    Really, having and being able to use mass transit has a value for more than just cleaner air. It would reduce traffic congestion for those who do have to drive. We really need to solve the twin dilemmas of inconvenience and expense. I don't advocate having free fare days, but the fare should not cost more than car pooling with just two people per car. Counties could be involved in determining routes that would better serve their citizens and be able to issue monthly passes.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 12:09 p.m.

    Limiting pollution and increased government regulation over pollutants kills jobs and hurts businesses, which is obviously more important than the health of the citizens. That's what I gather from the GOP these days.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 11:52 a.m.

    Props to Amy Joi O'Donoghue!

    1) I like the video. I don't know if DN has done anything like that before, but I hope it continues. The video seemed a bit less professional than I suspect the DN would want, but for a company that's moved from paper>online>video-content, I think this is awesome!

    2) Jobs are jobs and kennicott has a real business interest here (not to mention a bit of landmark value). I'm all for allowing them to continue, but not at the expense of health.

    I am sick and tired of our horrible air and practices. Renewable energy is essential to being good stewards over the Earth, imo. Utah, for all the great things we do and have here- has more than just a 'bad mark' for our environmental record. To me, this is just embarrassing. God gave us a clean planet. Therefore, the problem is only attributable in one direction, towards us.

    We are addicted to letting other people make our decisions for us. We let oil companies, we let politicians, we let businesses run the show. I'm all for free market, but WE need to choose better, smarter.

  • Jeromeo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 10:23 a.m.


    In support of your argument, might I add that the Intermountain area is enjoying a natural gas SURPLUS, so much so that the gas company has petitioned the bureaucrats for a rate reduction. Unheard of!

  • mdp Bountiful, utah
    Aug. 12, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    This article was pretty well done, but it missed the most obvious solution to the problem here on the Wasatch front: converting vehicles to run on natural gas. Thanks to Questar, we have one of the best cng infrastructures in the country- cng is cheap, domestically plentiful, and the cleanest burning fuel we have. The biggest obstacle has been EPA and its ridiculous rules (not laws) that discourage and inhibit cheap conversions enjoyed almost everywhere in the World.

  • Jeromeo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 9:09 a.m.

    I can't believe the irrational number of rationalizations appearing on this page today. Who are you trying to kid? Let's see... "Genocide is good for business and reduces pollution." Right? It's this kind of bury your head in the sand wrong thinking that enables Utah legislators to turn a blind eye to very serious issues. Instead, we are diverted to political hot buttons promoting ideology... not ecology. Thank you, Amy Joi O'Donoghue for this comprehensive piece. Unfortunately, cynicism tells me that the road ahead is not merely up hill. We are approaching an environmental precipice. If the recent droughts don't open influential eyes, we are all in for a Long Hot Century.

    Viva la Verde!

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    Go up the canyons during a winter inversion and look down on the mess below. Then tell me we don't have an air quality problem along the Wasatch Front. Mass transit is part of the solution. UTA now has hybrid clean air hybrid buses and limits idling times. Another solution is getting rid of clunker cars. I few years ago I visited Japan. I noticed there were no older model worn out cars on the road. We should do the same here. No oil burning smoke belching cars. Give the cops the authority to pull cars with excessive exhaust smoke over and impound them. Give tax credits for trading an old high mileage vehcles for a newer one. Cash for clunkers was the right concept, poor implementation. As far as those on the far right who want to get eliminate the EPA I say nuts to that.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    Did I miss something here? ALl new trucks and cars should have natural gas powered systems. Natural gas just about eliminates the nitrogen oxides, has half the CO2 of coal fired power plants, and your engine will last twice as long. It is good for trucks, cars, buses, bulldozers, etc. It is cheap, plentiful, and it is ours. What are we waiting for. I recommend all public vehicles go to natural gas and the public will follow. This is the silver bullet.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 8:24 a.m.

    We know, in utah, that man cannot modify climate. So whatever our air quality, we didn't do it and we don't have to fix it.

  • chaliceman Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    Everyone needs to contribute to solve this problem. Industry needs to spend more of its profits on pollution controls, commercial businesses and homes need to do a better job conserving energy through better insulation, energy efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems and lighting. Vehicle owners need to drive less and when it is time to buy a new vehicle, upgrade to a hybrid or better, old diesel trucks need to be retired. That leaves what the state, county and cities can do: subsidize public transportation, and provide a feed-in-tariff for roof mounted solar panels as California, Mass., Oregon and Arizona have done to lower the need to create electricity by coal and gas fired generation plants. Going Green is good business and will stimulate our local economy. These jobs cannot be out sourced. Finding alternative, clean energy sources now is smart because fossil fuels will continue to increase in price and they will eventually run out. Why wait for that day before we act when we can prepare ourselves now?

  • UtahUte16 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 12:02 a.m.

    This just in: the older you get, the closer death comes upon you.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Aug. 11, 2012 11:42 p.m.

    I would gladly pay $10/gallon for gasoline if it meant my kids could breathe clean air.

  • superdad Provo, UT
    Aug. 11, 2012 10:10 p.m.

    I think this article shows that asthma CANNOT be related to higher levels of PM 2.5 in Utah County. The PM 2.5 levels have actually dropped a huge amount over the past 30 years. People only think it is worse because the EPA has continued to drop the standard every 5 years or so. You have PM 2.5 levels dropping and asthma increasing, in fact one can conclude that there is no relationship between the two.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Aug. 11, 2012 8:58 p.m.

    I think the author of the article did a good job of explaining information supplied. However, I'm inclined to take it with a grain of salt, and I know salt can kill you too. I recall when the steel plant closed the last time, researchers were surprised that air quality did not improve in Utah County. We can't have everything. Many of our conveniences depend on processes that cause air pollution, yet most of us don't want to give up those conveniences. There are also many questions on what causes asthma, and we know that there are many questions for which we don't have answers.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Aug. 11, 2012 7:11 p.m.

    Life expectancy among Utahns is among the highest in the civilized world, and health is similarly high.

    Something does not compute.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Aug. 11, 2012 6:33 p.m.

    Do you want to be 103?
    Not me

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 11, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    When did the Dnews become so liberal? Since when is pollution a bad thing?
    A few years ago some Utah legislators said limiting emissions was bad for business.
    Pollution = good business.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Aug. 11, 2012 3:35 p.m.

    In a way a conservative should understand, it takes years off your earning potential and decreases worker productivity and profits.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Aug. 11, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    There's just too many people in the Wasatch Front. I remember those inversions back when I lived in Utah (21 yrs ago). For those of you still there, it is ok to move out to more rural, less polluted places. I fear many won't move because they think they are in Zion, but ask yourself during an inversion, is this Zion? The air is clean here in rural VA.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Aug. 11, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    Recall that Brigham Young, president of the LDS Church moved its headquarters to St. George during winter months to escape that same inversion. Problem then was smoke from wood fires that heated buildings in that day. Wish we had some way of measuring that today to see whether there's actually been an improvement.

  • rok San Diego, CA
    Aug. 11, 2012 1:25 p.m.

    The sun is slowly killing us. Time is slowly killing us. Everything is slowly killing us. It's inevitable.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 11, 2012 1:19 p.m.

    This is a very impressive and well-researched article. There is no question the country in general faces problems with air pollution, and the characteristics of Salt Lake Valley make it particularly difficult. I agree that there is no single "magic bullet" but I think the electric car is the closest thing to it. GM is working on a new series of batteries that can go 100 to 200 miles on a single charge. If it works, that will really be a game changer.