Environmentalism shows why ‘mental’ is part of the word. Josh is on the case. This story appeared in The Times:
Shampoo ‘as bad a health risk as car fumes’
Shampoo, oven cleaner, deodorant and other household products are as significant a source of the most dangerous form of air pollution as cars, research has found.
Scientists studying air pollution in Los Angeles found that up to half of particles known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) came from domestic products, which also include paint, pesticides, bleach and perfumes.
These compounds degrade into particles known as PM2.5, which cause respiratory problems and are implicated in 29,000 premature deaths each year in the UK. Traffic had been assumed to be the biggest source of air pollution. The new findings, published in the journal Science, led to warnings that countries may struggle to hit pollution targets, with most tackling vehicle emissions.
Mavbe there’s another explanation? Studying history always helps.
Why Did a 1542 Spanish Voyage Refer to San Pedro Bay as the ‘Bay of the Smoke’?
In 1542, a tiny armada of two ships sailed up the California coast, flying the flag of Spain. On board were two-to-three-hundred men, including seamen, soldiers, merchants, and Indian and African slaves.
Disappointment was the expedition’s destiny. The viceroy of New Spain had dispatched the ships north in search of legends that had little basis in reality: the mythical Seven Cities of Gold and the elusive Strait of Anián (Northwest Passage). Failing that, Spanish authorities hoped the armada might discover a coastal route west to China and the Spice Islands; little was known then about the shape or size of the Pacific Ocean, and some speculated that North America’s western coastline curved round to meet with Asia.
Still, the voyage — commanded by a onetime conquistador named Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo — produced the first written observations of the Los Angeles area. They also bestowed on it one of the region’s first European names: Baya de los Fumos, or Bay of the Smoke.
Some sources suggest that Baya de los Fumos may be Santa Monica Bay, but most point to San Pedro Bay. In either case, the land described here is the same: the Los Angeles Basin. It is worth noting that, despite the persistent misconception of Los Angeles as a desert, the region’s first European visitors described it as “good” country. From their ships, the sailors likely saw a well-watered, lushly vegetated plain teeming with animal life.
The smoke’s origin remains a mystery. It may have been cooking fires burning in the many Tongva villages that dotted the Los Angeles coastal plain and interior valleys; in the sixteenth century, Southern California was one of the most densely populated regions in North America, and the area’s inversion layer would have trapped campfire smoke then just as it traps automobile exhaust today.
Read the whole story here