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Wood Smoke Is Linked To Severe Pneumonia and Cognitive Impacts 11 November 2011 A new study finds that reducing exposure to smoke from open fires and wood-burning cook stoves significantly reduces the incidence of pneumonia, the leading of death for children five and under in developing countries. “The amount of smoke exposure babies were getting from the open woodfire stoves is comparable to having them smoke three to five cigarettes a day,” said Kirk Smith, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and principal investigator of the study. Another new study found a link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and lower performance in neurodevelopmental tests for school-aged children.

Cutting through the haze in China's air pollution debate 4 November 2011
Air pollution has becoming an increasingly hot topic in China, no doubt in part thanks to the heavy shroud of air pollution that has been weighing down on Beijing recently. And so many Chinese cities appear set to be married to asthma and hazy skies for a very long time unless some serious measures are taken.

Asia's air pollution brewing killer storms, scientists say 3 November 2011
Airborne pollution from South Asia is helping to brew monster storms in the Arabian Sea that have claimed thousands of lives and cost billions of dollars, scientists said yesterday.
In a paper published in the British journal Nature, researchers pointed the finger at a haze known as the Asian brown cloud, which hangs over parts of the northern Indian Ocean, India and Pakistan.

“Black Carbon” Chokes Chilean Towns 1 November 2011
On winter nights, Carmen Ahumada is unable to see across the street to her neighbor's house. Visibility in Temuco, Chile, can be as low as five meters at times, she said.  Temuco, with a population of 300,000, has the fourth most polluted air in the country, according to local media. The burning of firewood for heating, cooking, and other uses is the main source of soot particulates, known as "black carbon," that enter the air at levels 150 percent higher than the national standard and more than four times the World Health Organization's recommended limit.

Mountaintop Removal Mining: Digging Into Community Health Concerns 1 November 2011
The practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining has been carried out on at least 500 Appalachian peaks. MTR mining is controversial for its environmental impacts related and health effects.

Global Phase-out of Lead in Gasoline Succeeds: Major Victory for Kids' Health 27 October 2011
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), working with NRDC in the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, today announced toxic lead has been removed from gasoline in more than 175 countries worldwide – representing near-global eradication.  A new, independent scientific analysis shows the result of this achievement is a 90 percent drop in blood lead levels worldwide, as well as 1.2 million lives saved each year and $2.4 trillion generated in health, social and economic benefits annually.

Biogas Offers Poor Countries a Cleaner, Safer Fuel 25 October 2011 In developing countries where domestic animals are ubiquitous and sewage systems rare, biogas technology can provide both valuable fuel and improved sanitation

Tackling health and pollution problems in Fairbanks, Alaska 23 October 2011 Local and state agencies are working to educate the public on the health impact of air pollution as smoke plumes sprout up across the Fairbanks area as the temperature drops and people fire up their wood stoves. Update: Forum shows gains in public awareness about health risks posed by woodsmoke.

Clearing the air on Climate and Smog 21 October 2011 Why climate change and public health policy make good chemistry.
A major study released today in Fresno details the direct link between higher levels of air pollution and asthma-related ER and hospital admissions. So, what’s that got to do with climate change? Plenty. Download study report (pdf).

How Global Warming Fell Off The (U.S.) National Agenda 20 October 2011 There’s been much hand-wringing — but perhaps not enough soul-searching — among environmentalists about how climate change got to be the political third rail. The New York Times ran a lengthy piece asking “Where Did Global Warming Go?” which raised more questions than it answered.

Mongolia's capital tries to shed its smog 17 October 2011 The plan to swap old stoves for cleaner models is part of a new effort by the government and donor organizations to reduce air pollution in one of the world's smoggiest cities. A recent report by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver stays that one in 10 deaths in Ulan Bator is associated with air pollution.

2 Million Deaths a Year Attributed to Pollution from Indoor Cookstove Fires 13 October 2011 Nearly two million deaths could be prevented each year by replacing cooking fires and inefficient, smoky stoves, reports a policy analysis by leaders from the National Institutes of Health published in Science Thursday. Smoke exposure inside the home can cause respiratory diseases, lung cancer and pneumonia. These cooking methods are the leading cause of environmental death around the world, according to the World Health Organization. A Major Environmental Cause of Death. World’s Pall of Black Carbon Can Be Eased With New Stoves.

Ozone hole grows to near record size October 11, 2011 The Antarctic ozone hole, yawning open longer than usual, is topping out this year as one of the larger holes ever recorded. Instead of following the usual pattern of hitting a maximum, then declining, the hole has stayed near its peak for weeks, even rising again last week, according to measurements made by NASA.

Picking a Living in Hellish Landscape 6 October 2011 Garbage pickers, emaciated dogs and carrion birds alike all hunt for items of value at the Cambalache garbage dump, before they have to give way to the smouldering fire that burns up to 900 tonnes of waste a day in the open air, spreading its smoke over Ciudad Guayana in northeastern Venezuela.

Biomass Land Grab Could Leave Poor Hungry 4 October 2011 Rising demand for the dominant form of renewable energy worldwide – wood – could drive yet more acquisitions of land in developing countries where food insecurity is rising and land rights are weak, say researchers at IIED. In a briefing paper published 30 August, they warn that this new trend needs greater public scrutiny and debate.

Finnish Meteorological Institute studies air quality in Santiago de Chile 12 September 2011 This research, focusing on atmospheric fine particles, applies new technology used in Finland, which has been installed at the measurement stations to conduct real-time monitoring of the amounts and chemical composition of particles in the air. The findings will be used for planning measures to improve air quality in Santiago de Chile. The first measurement results reveal that transport is the biggest source of fine particles in Santiago. Cars in Santiago are relatively new, but the number of cars increases by an average of 6.5% per year. In Peñaflor, measurements are performed in a low-rise housing area where concentrations of fine particles have been found to rise very high especially at night because of wood-burning stoves.

London ranks among worst European cities for air pollution 7 September 2011 Air quality study judges UK capital to be 'below average' for its lack of action on tackling deadly soot particles. London ranks as one of Europe's unhealthiest major cities, having done little to tackle deadly particles from diesel vehicles, according to a major air quality study published on Wednesday.

Pollution clouds Hong Kong's future 31 July 2011 Hong Kong's "fragrant harbour", from which the city takes its name, is often obscured by smog. The city's air pollution regularly exceeds levels recommended by the World Health Organisation and by some estimates air quality is three times worse than London or New York. Much of the air pollution is generated by the coal-fired power plants and smoke-stacks across the border in China's industrial south, but the traffic fumes from the city's increasingly congested streets also play a large role.

And we thought things were bad here....