Friday Funny – 'Passing the Sniff Test' over Los Angeles smog

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.

Full Story HERE

Josh has his take:

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-wateredlushly 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

109 thoughts on “Friday Funny – 'Passing the Sniff Test' over Los Angeles smog

  1. Much of the native vegetation in LA produces VOCs, like ceanothus and sagebrush. The imported eucalyptus do so, too. The principle is that if you can smell the bush/tree, it is producing VOCs, and VOCs are the California Air Resources Board’s bete noir. Claims were made in a painting trade publication that the VOC levels set by CARB would be exceeded by the production by foliage (leaving no margin for industry).

    • Tom……..The BBC is carrying the same hyped story with the usual scaremongering from their “Environmental Analyst”. It’s pretty sad! As you mention, natural VOCs from plants are well-known “contaminants” in the air – the same kind of contaminants that people love to escape to the countryside and wilderness to experience and call “fresh air”. The Blue Mountains in NSW, Australia and the Great Smoky Mountains in the Appalachians are specifically named for the VOCs, mainly terpenes, that are emitted by the trees and other vegetation.

      • That would be Cardinal Harrabin, who knows nothing about anything to do with science or the environment, but who ensures that the BBC propaganda is always in the headlines.

    • Tom Halla

      Much of the native vegetation in LA produces VOCs, like ceanothus and sagebrush. The imported eucalyptus do so, too. The principle is that if you can smell the bush/tree, it is producing VOCs, and VOCs are the California Air Resources Board’s bete noir. Claims were made in a painting trade publication that the VOC levels set by CARB would be exceeded by the production by foliage (leaving no margin for industry).

      Welcome to the Atlanta Regional Air Quality problem: The trillions of pine trees in the forest that IS Atlanta region emmit the same “polutants” (NOx, haze, etc) that the EPA/Washington establishment condemns. Thus, the Atlanta region is forced to use the specially-blended (higher-priced) gasolines in the summer required in CA.) But it is the pine trees and the static no-wind Bermuda high hanging overhead, not the traffic here nor the LA Basin mountains that trap the stagnant air for days. Same NOx readings and high VOC’s are measured in the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains.
      Note the names: Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains had that same hazy, blue, smokey colors back when the Indians women were pulling travois across dirt trails.

      • The greens and the regulators doing their thing consider artificial “pollution” somehow worse than natural pollution. The minor little fact that they set standards that cannot be met, despite what industry does, never seems to bother them.

      • Yes, could a real chemist here please explain how, for example, propane degrades to a carbon particle?
        By the way, in a related message, VOCs are one reason why I left California. I bought a quart of paint in the local hardware store and noticed a $.30 “California Paint Steward Fee” That was one of the last straws that told me I needed to escape.

    • Where can I get some of that organic bleach (that emits voc’s)? It sounds like it’s more natural than the chlorine stuff I’ve been using.

  2. …and CO2 is feeding this vicious cycle of plant emitters. Better shut down Hollywood to be safe and out of the abundance of caution.

  3. Well, I can certainly understand the shampoo part. After all, it does say “wash, rinse, repeat” without instructions for when to stop.

      • That’s what happened to Michael Mann. He thought the shampoo bottle instructions were per reviewed.

      • I used to use Head and Shoulders until my hair fell out of my head and landed on my shoulders.
        Now I just have to wash my face and high forehead (which is making it’s way down the back of my head)
        Before we married a friend asked my wife to be “Do you have a problem with James loosing his hair”? She said from where she stands she can’t see a problem, she’s 5ft and a half inch I’m 6ft 2
        We had a eucalyptus tree in the garden of our first house it took me a few years to kill it off and gt rid of it but I remember that in hot weather the smell of it was really strong as the heat liberated the natural oils in it and boy did it burn well on the bonfire.
        James Bull

  4. They probably are a bigger contributor to a diminishingly small problem as car exhaust is getting cleaner and cleaner. About all that comes out of my tailpipe is water vapor and CO2, neither of which is harmful to either the climate or the biosphere.

    • I’ve read in several sources, that in places like LA, thanks to all the pollution control equipment, the air out the exhaust is cleaner than the air coming in.

      • Previous administration’s P2.5 regulations for coal plants actually imposed requirements forcing that the stack emissions were cleaner than the air burned. Thus, the plant would become a giant HEPA filter. And the reason so many were shutdown.

    • The VOCs produced by shampoo, paint, cleaners, etc. would be highly localized and usually confined to home interiors. The exhaust from automobiles, including CO and O3, are spread all over. Heaviest by the roadways, but still spread over much of the exterior atmosphere. They are two very different exposure scenarios, so how it will affect people are also different. This press release sounds like they are equating oranges and apples.

      • Air inside gets exchanged with air outside on a regular basis. If it didn’t we’d suffocate in our sleep.
        CO and O3 output from cars is barely measurable.

      • @John, they do, which Ronald Reagan quipped about some 30 years ago. He knew what he was talking about, since he’d done a lot of ranching.
        @Rob, cars do ’emit’ ozone, from the spark just like lightning does, but the quantities are small and get quenched as you noted by the VOCs and the ozone emitted contributes to the oxides of nitrogen, just like lightning does. By the way, those oxides of nitrogen are plant food, too.

  5. Cars haven’t been a significant source of VOCs since they started putting catalytic converters on them decades ago.
    Even refueling hasn’t been an issue since they started putting boots on pump nozels about the same time.

    • sorry but what a steaming pile of hogwash regarding PM2.5, as MarkW says most of the ‘particles’ described are water soluble or readily decomposed. Sure carbon particulate PM2.5 carries a risk of black lung, but cotton also poses a risk from BROWN lung (cotton is not readily expelled from lungs and generally forms small cysts encapsulating the offending fibers)
      Why is it these loonies get half a fact, concoct a story in their heads and decide to scare everyone else? I blame ‘popular science’ and the ilk that push it.. leading many simple folk to believe science is ‘easy’.
      if it’s soluble or readily decomposed, it ain’t PM2.5 !

      • Karlos51
        While some of your comment is correct, anything that has an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 microns or less is technically PM2.5, including fog. PM2.5 is a size, not a substance. From coal and wood fires one gets mostly condensed hydrocarbon and volatile condensates. All of them are PM2.5 if they are small enough (which is usually the case at source). If the fuel is burned badly, the amount is greatly increased. Placing a large log onto a hot wood fire creates a huge amount of condensible gases which, naturally, condense into floating particles which people might inhale. They are often sticky, like evaporated and condensed road tar or cigarette tars.
        The emission of PM2.5 does not guarantee exposure. Exposure does not guarantee inhalation. Inhalation does not guarantee disease. Disease does not guarantee death. But the WHO and EPA both claim that ’emissions’ cause ‘deaths’ in calculable numbers without any additional information like inhalation and numerous medical metrics including gender, inoculations, diet, genes and the chemistry of the PM. A whole industry is built upon that mis-attribution. It is putative cause and modeled effects. Sound familiar?

      • Crispin
        Illuminating post.
        I had never thought of that. Thank you.
        I was taught in 1970’s schoolboy applied mechanics that any mechanical calculation required a FOS (factor of safety) of roughly one third. In other words, add one third to any calculation we make.
        Roll that up over numerous calculations, and before long, the FOS is more meaningful than the calculation itself.
        It seems to me and my simplistic schoolboy education that climate science is more about FOS than the science itself.

    • They are precursors and are converted by chemistry or sunlight into something that qualifies as PM2.5. NO isn’t much of a contaminant but it is a precursor. Particles are complicated and whatever you just measured, it will be different a few hundred metres downwind.
      “Real” PM2.5 that emerges from a wood fire, agglomerates into ‘giant dentritic’ particles with hundreds of little globs stuck together which then falls to the ground – typically within 1-10 km of the source. If you hunt around you can find great micrographs of giant dendritic particles. A grad student of my coworker wrote the following article on this:
      Gravimetric analyses of aerosol filter samples from Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg, have revealed an anomalous mass-size distribution. Instead of the coal-fire generated aerosol forming sub-micron aerosols as expected, most of the mass of the winter smoke is in particles greater than 3 µm aerodynamic diameter. To investigate this phenomenon, we used a high-resolution scanning electron microscope with a field emission gun, beam spot resolution 2 nm, to examine coarse and fine-mode aerosol fractions from two contrasting sites in the conurbation. We description be the occurrence of unanticipated giant carbonaceous conglomerates (10-100 µm diameter), which comprise the bulk of the aerosol mass on the filters examined. The outer shape of the conglomerates tends towards spherical, rather than the branched, chain-like structures of high-temperature soot. Internal structure varies from highly dendritic with 20-nm-wide branches, through a coarser sponge-like structure to an almost solid ‘melted toffee’ irregular surface. Possible modes of formation of these conglomerates are discussed in terms of condensation aerosol conglomeration, and subsequent partial melting or solvent condensation. The occurrence of the giant carbonaceous conglomerates as a general feature of the Soweto winter atmosphere explains the anomalous size-mass distribution results from bulk filter analyses.

      • Crispin –
        By that definition even bacteria or viruses, or oxygen molecules, or free atoms, are PM2,5s. Surely there is a lower threshhold?

      • MC, particles are solids. They can be captured by filters, impingers or various means. Oxygen is a gas and it along with free atoms can’t be captured in this manner. At least some bacteria and “large” viruses could be.

      • No, Moth, there isn’t. Any particulate matter that can be measured is considered PM, including microbes. The key point is “can be measured”. This is a sticking point on PM2.5, as the EPA does not have approved methods of testing PM2.5 in vent stacks.

    • The primary routes, although not the only routes, involves VOC’s reacting with SO2, SO3, CO, and NOx producing particulate compounds (i.e. solids or semi-solids).
      The question of which 2.5 sized particulates found in the atmosphere are hazardous is a matter of considerable debate. The U.S. EPA does not distinguish, nor attempt to distinguish, between hazardous and non-hazardous 2.5 particulates. Nor does it distinguish, nor attempt to distinguish, between VOC’s that produce hazardous 2.5 particulates from those that don’t.
      The EPA simply labels both categories of these compounds of as producing hazardous conditions and ignores all evidence to the contrary.
      As an example, of an informative comment illustrating the study of the source of VOCs that are actually know to be hazardous (although not necessarily present in a hazardous dose) I point to the comment made by “Lance Wallace February 16, 2018 at 9:12” (seen below).
      In my view, the EPA use of its regulatory “simplifications” to regulate VOCs and 2.5 Particulates may have been justified the face of the public’s view of the health risks and how little the EPA knew in the early stages of implementing the relevant Clean Air Act regulations. But, that period has long since pasted. EPA officials are well aware there is a considerable body of evidence indicating it overreacted. Personally, I think it’s time the EPA either voluntary re-examine its assumptions or, if necessary, Congress should create legislation compelling it to do so.

      • My house (built in 1949) has an old-fashioned open fireplace. Since new fireplaces (and wood stoves) have been illegal in my county for 30+ years, many people here have never really seen one. So some ask me “Wow, do you enjoy that cool fireplace?” and my answer to their astonishment is is “Nope. Since I bought the house in 1988 I’ve never used it once.” I grew up with wood heat, and don’t fancy filling my home with the gases and particulates, nor filling the neighborhood with the smoke.

        • brian356

          So some ask me “Wow, do you enjoy that cool fireplace?” and my answer to their astonishment is is “Nope. Since I bought the house in 1988 I’ve never used it once.” I grew up with wood heat, and don’t fancy filling my home with the gases and particulates, nor filling the neighborhood with the smoke.

          Like ours: Our large stone fireplace is present and is a wonderfully beautiful centerpiece in the living room, but is not used for heating. However – a very important caveat – it IS available for emergency use IF we need it whenever a problem strikes. Not an “efficient” source of household or even room heating (and a poor cooking surface), but it IS an emergency source that is always available. And, with over 90 trees on our own property, we have green firewood “stored” standing up as well. (And some more already dried and broken up as the living trees die or get pruned.)
          Franklin did many things when he invented his “Franklin Stove”: The enclosed metal casing created a projecting hot radiating surface out into the room that is a many-times more efficient radiant heater than a massive (slow to heat up!) stone wall for brick fireplace. Worse, the stone or brick fireplace is recessed back into the wall, the fire is recessed back into a blackened recess in the stone surroundings, and (usually) laid on an outside wall so half the heat heats up the outdoors! (Multi-room city house do try to place fireplaces on inside walls, and if two-story, have second fireplaces above the first. That helps, but few farmers could afford multi-story, multi-roomed buildings in per-colonial and colonial times.)
          Like a Franklin stove, the fireplace uses already-heated room air for combustion, then passes the now-over-heated combustion gasses up the chimney and out of the house into the cold outdoor air. But a Franklin stove is so much more efficient at releasing heat from its steel/iron walls that it uses much less wood/coal than the fireplace to get the same rooms heated.

      • A premature death literally begs the question what precisely is a mature death? I guess the maturest of mature deaths are considered premature.

      • A premature death has an official and important definition. The life expectancy of a well fed and healthy person is 86 years at present. Anyone who does before that is said to have died prematurely, and the gap of years is distributed by a committee to all realistic causes – about 50 of them.
        Someone who dies post-maturely lived longer than 86 years and they are ignored.
        The ‘premature’ deaths are used to create the global burden of disease numbers. It is important to remember that one cannot ‘create an averted premature death” because we don’t know what people will be exposed to in future. Anyone selling averted disability adjusted life years (aDALYs) is punting phlogiston infused with snake oil.

      • Where do they find a population of elderly people who:
        1) Never lived around trees
        2) Had no access to household products
        3) Had “standard” healthy diets
        4) Lived where there were no vehicles
        5) Never lived downwind to any industry
        6) Weren’t subjected to the casualty rates inherent with modern medical treatment but DID have access to life saving decent quality medical care.
        Etc, etc, etc.
        This would be required to make any useful judgement on comparative life expectancy.
        A far more reasonable assessment would be gained by estimating the normal life expectancy for someone with good overall health and access to good quality health care- then looking for specific issues that negatively impact that number. No 2.5 particulate would show up. Period!

      • There may be an official definition for “premature death”, but other than for actuarial purposes, the concept as employed by EPA and WHO for propaganda purposes is hogwash.

    • Yes. Here in the U.K. the figure is 40,000.
      I read once how they calculated this but have lost the post. Goes something like: If you inconveniently die a week or so before the designated date the computer has predicted you are deemed to be a premature death.
      Judging by my past breathing records I should definitely be dead; but still ticking at 82.

      • cognog2
        GET IN THERE MATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        And thank you for the wisdom out planet is sorely lacking.

  6. I am amazed that VOCs in the California atmosphere “are implicated in 29,000 premature deaths each year in the UK”. Does anyone ever read this stuff before they publish?

    • You aren’t supposed to read for understanding, your job is to become scared so that you will vote for more socialists so that government can properly protect.

    • The 29,000 ‘implications’ are the result of some amazing cookery based in Berkeley (where else). There are 6 levels of ‘assumptions’ in the chain that leads from detection to ‘deaths’.
      What they specifically say is that the PM2.5 is considered to be a contributor to the premature deaths within a population cohort, typically a whole country. No one’s premature death is implicated, it is a population statistic. What happens is the popular press mis-quotes the heavily qualified claim, reporting “X-deaths are caused by Y”. In my experience, the sources of this stuff are complicit in helping the press manipulate and mis-quote the numbers, turning them into actual deaths of individuals. That is why you hear 100 people smoking 10 ciggies each causes 1.3 deaths somewhere in the country. It is statistical nonsense.
      Always reply: “Show me the bodies.”

      • How many premature deaths are caused by rational people reading this nonsense, becoming apoplectic and dying of heart attacks?

  7. This “finding” comes about 30 years after a huge multiyear study of 800 persons (representing 800,000 inhabitants of 8 US cities such as Los Angeles, Elizabeth, NJ, Raleigh-Durham, NC,…) found that about 75% of our exposure to VOCs such as benzene, chloroform, and tetrachloroethylene was due to consumer products. Out of 32 target VOCs, all but one were found to be at far higher levels indoors than out. (The exception was carbon tetrachloride, which had been banned from consumer products for many years.) The study was known as the TEAM Study.
    All 800 subjects had their breath measured for the same VOCs. Most were exhaling the VOCs at higher levels than the outdoor concentrations! (These VOCs circulate in the blood stream and are given up by the alveoli as the blood passes through the lungs.)
    Since we spend 87% of our time indoors, our exposure mostly depends on the indoor concentrations. But this study focused on a place (outside) where people aren’t. (The study does admit that exposures are far higher indoors.)
    The three VOCs with the highest risk were benzene, chloroform and para-dichlorobenzene. The main exposures to benzene (a known human leukemogen) were in homes with either attached garages or smokers. ((When a car is driven into the garage, for the next hour it gives off benzene from the hot gasoline in the enegine. Cigarettes contain about 50 micrograms of benzene, and secondhand smoke provided about a 50% increase of benzene levels indoors).
    The chloroform exposures were almost solely due to drinking water treatment. As the water passes through the house, it gives up chloroform, mainly during showers and baths.
    Para-dichlorobenzene is used in some air “fresheners”. It causes cancer in mice and rats. Based on the TEAM Study findings. California banned the chemical from use in air fresheners.
    Although the study was carried out by EPA scientists, the actual source of the funding for some years was Congress, which required EPA to continue funding the study. The findings did not support the EPA emphasis on regulating industry and mobile sources, and was bitterly opposed by political forces within EPA.

    • I demand you stop exhaling and polluting air!
      This madness started long time ago when methods became sensitive enough to detect trace levels of compounds. Nobody can be sure how much these affect, probably very very little, but telling how a compound causes cancer in rats has a chilling effect. Nobody asks if it was the trace amount, or some near lethal dose on rats that were genetically predisposed to cancer.
      I’m so full of this poosham.
      PS Fumo might mean not only smoke but fog. I’m not qualified to say about non-contemporary Spanish/Portuguese.

    • The reason for the EPA opposition to its findings are that they only make money regulating and controlling (and fining) sources of outdoor air pollution. Their business case does not include regulating indoor air quality. One reason for that is that smoking – which is legal indoors – creates an environment FAR worse than any outdoor air anywhere in the world. It is interesting – the use of the phrase ‘second hand smoke’. It is sort of second hand, but to me that means it has been inhaled a second time. Only a tiny portion of emitted smoke is inhaled by someone else in the apartment or house.
      Imagine what the ozone concentration was in homes with those electric ozone generators creating “mountain air”! Utterly, totally illegal.

      • Ozone is natures pollutant cleaner, not a pollutant. fresh sea air, mountain streams, thunderstorms all generate it and resulting clean air is wonderful. like co2 its a fundamental to good life, hence labelled nasty

  8. I grew up in the LA area (Long Beach) in the 60’s and 70’s. I am very familiar with the smog then. SCAQMD was set up to deal with smog and it was well known even then that 50% of hydrocarbon emissions were due to native plant life. So a logical person knew then that there were limits to what could be accomplished with vehicle emissions controls.
    Regulation ultimately resulted in catalytic converters being installed in all new vehicles which essentially eliminated HC and CO emissions and significantly reduced NOx in the early catalyst equipped cars. This was highly successful. A conference in 2002 pointed out that by 2001 the LA basin experienced only 11 days of ozone non-attainment, down from nearly 180 days in 1970. This was entirely due to 1980’s emissions standards as most cars were 7 years old or older, and there were still a substantial number of non-catalyst equipped vehicles on the road (and all trucks had essentially no emissions controls at all.
    During that time, the population more than doubled and vehicle miles traveled quadrupled, but smog continually decreased. The total number of Ozone Non-Attainment days decreased despite the ozone standard by cut multiple times.
    After that point, population continued to grow but smog remained about the same due to natural hydrocarbons and just normal population growth. So now, in summer, you can see the mountains surrounding the LA basin most days when back in the 70’s it was rare to see even a few miles.
    New emissions control standards on vehicles do reduce emissions further, but to no benefit of actual ambient air quality as the cars are now cleaner than the actual intake air. There are natural limits to what emissions controls can accomplish but SCAQMD does not recognize this and they want to further reduce smog below its natural background level. A fools errand if ever there was one. But to a true believer, a worthy goal

    • A guy patented a radiator plating that cleaned the air catalytically as the fan pulled cool air over the rad. Brilliant. No one bought it. Obviously (green) people complained it would encourage driving because that would give net negative emissions, which was the whole point of the invention.

  9. Natural VOC particularly from conifers can reach surprisingly high levels. Many years ago when I was working on de-icing methods for aircraft (which does create some VOC, though propylene glycol is actually neither volatile or dangerous), I was told in confidence by people from the Swedish EPA that they had been forced to shelve plans for a general highest permissible ceiling for VOC, because the levels in towns were already usually lower than in the surrounding pine forests.

    • tty
      That is a good story. People are literally cleaning up the environment. Nature needs our help.

  10. California’s enviromental regulations are certainly going mentally-retarded. Just about every label packaging for anything now sold in the US has a nice cancer/birth defect warning on it, even if it is being sold in the other 49 states and Canada:
    “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
    On a package of wood screws recently bought at Home Depot.
    Total insanity coming out of Cal’s governance.
    I support their bid for secession to become an independent nation.
    They’d become Venezuela in no time..

    • Free chlorine can halogenate organic carbons. I assume the problem is with halogenating aromatics where aromatic rings can intercalate to DNA and induce DNA lesions during relication.
      Also, from a pharmocology view, halogenation greatly improves a molecules’ ability to penetrate the lipid bilayer membranes of cells. This ability is used by the pharmaceutical industry when researching new drugs to improve cellular uptake of small molecule drugs.

    • jimkress35;
      As Joelobrian already said, the effect is indirect: when in contact with organics bleach does react with them to make chlorinated organics. Free chlorine itself is quite toxic for the lungs too.
      The problem with the above study is that they measured in exhaled air, but our own body produces bleach to kill invaders like bacteria by the white blood cells, even in -relative- large quantities when we are sick. Thus how they can make a differentiation of external and internal uptake/production is a good question…

  11. Funny … no mention of the personal “tailpipe exhaust” from the 18 million or so inhabitants of the greater LA region as a VOC source. Will mandatory activated charcoal filter underpants be on the horizon for said citizens?

  12. This ‘shampoo’ pollution is a bit over the top, making such blizzare claims such as they do.
    I was just stranded in Mexico City Tuesday morning at the airport because the Smog combined with the water vapor dew point at 45 degrees F to create SFmog which didn’t lift until sufficient day time heating cleared out the fog before my plane could land. The fundamental problem is with very coarse air pollution, and a city the size of Mexico City at 23 million for metro area combined, the problem is straight up air pollution. The same for Manila or Bangkok, which I also just visited last month, and almost as large when including the metro suberbs.
    The problem is not CO2, a trace colorless, odourlous gas being the basic fundemental building block for life on earth: No, it is mismanaged air pollution that is choking the planet and literally killing people or impairing their IQ with copious amounts of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. We don’t have any of that left in most of the First world, but visit the 3rd World, especially the largest cities, and it is severe air pollution that is the issue.
    As Skeptics of current climate science, If we are going to stand for anything, let’s choose to inform the the world that the first thing we need to fix is straight up air pollution. The mistake some people make is equating Air Pollution with what they try and call CO2 pollution. There is no such thing, because CO2 is invisible. But air pollution is still a very serious concern in much of the world and is literally choking people to death. Let’s remind the infamous Dr. Mann that he should be preaching about cleaning up the squalor air pollution around the planet and not blame CO2 for ruining the planet. There is a difference and we have proved in the first world that air pollution can be checked. Let’s make this the message, and not blame an invisible trace gas that is near extinction levels at the peak of an ice age, for all the ills that CO2 is supposedly causing. There is a lot of low hanging fruit to pick by cleaning up the air pollution first, and that will lead to a much better world that everyone wants.

    • There are presumably volitile organics like various alcohols in shampoo, so CARB wants to regulate it. When I lived in Cali, CARB wanted afterburners on bakery ovens to deal with the alcohol from yeast.

      • I agree, there probably is. But it is below natural background levels that exist in a natural forest and is really a non issue in the scheme of things. My point being is that there is still a majority of the planet’s population that is literally choking to death on needless air pollution, and no one is advocating that we should be making the argument for actually cleaning up the air pollution that is impairing people, especially families and kids that live by the billions in the middle of all this, and are either literally impaired by carbon monoxide poisoning or definitely leads to a more miserable, shorter life span. When I hear climate activists talk about cleaning up global air quality, then maybe I take them a bit more serious than them wanting regulation and taxing a benign trace invisible gas (CO2) necessary to all life on earth.

  13. If paints, shampoos, etc are on the increase due to more products being available and higher population AND life spans are increasing, could one also argue that the VOCs in these products are of benefit?

  14. Hmmm…. People live. People die. They emit stuff before and after.
    What’s their solution? Fewer but dirtier people?
    Start with Hollywood. It seems that most there are already dirty.

  15. Indoor Pollution About fumes from cosmetics like hair spray .
    It seems that many politicians appear before TV cameras with carefully groomed hair. So it has often occurred to me that some of them may be like me in being affected by hairspray and perfumes so much that it is difficult to think clearly while breathing them.
    It could also explain the empty looking talking heads on Television news programmes ,who also appear to be witless wonders, as they try to read the script scrolling before them. Otherwise how could they talk such rubbish with straight faces!
    I firmly believe in this indoor pollution not only by airborne chemicals but by artificial fabrics and paint and varnish finishes in new interiors Whether it is worse than outdoor air in traffic, I can’t tell.

  16. If we stop using shampoo and deodorant, are the stinky fumes to be emanating from each of us still considered VOCs?

  17. Do these clowns know that PM2.5 is a grain size. Cigarette smoke particles are this size (I suspect that that’s where it came from in the first place) but its not the grain size of smoke that kills you, it’s the composition. In hard grains that aren’t acicular (needle shape) and aren’t soluble, the lungs clear these out with ease (check out the action of ‘cilia’in the lungs). Heck our ice age forebears were in almost constant airborne dust, ‘loess’ blowing from the barren land vacated by the glaciers. Silica (quartz) that size is hazardous because it is soluble in ultrafine grain. Perfumes, fragrances, mostly from flowers, cedar and other plants aren’t harmful. I’ve lived with women for 80 years and used shampoos for almost as long.
    A little bit of knowledge turns on the feeble ‘a priori’ reasoning facility, an indulgence resisted by knowledgeable smart people.

  18. Quote
    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
    When is some simple scientist going to nail this cold along with the LD50 nonsense. They are just building their case for CO2 mark 2 when that scam finally falls.
    It is so fake it must be simple to Author a definitive shoot down.

  19. Sounds like a mental health problem over modern civilization. Particulate pollution requires a mechanism to aerosolize it, that is, get it into the air. Sitting around, liquids do not make PM 2.5 particulates. They make gases.

  20. while the story as presented IS crap..
    the point of the toxic indoor air is pretty correct
    new homes without openable windows or ceiling high and floor level airvents anymore..
    once we used pretty much unscented soap and shampoo etc
    now everything from detergent fabric softeners and use of indoor dryers throwing the scent n chem out into the homes air also
    multiple chem scented personal items used daily.
    and then add the home cleaning chem literally dousing many homes on a daily basis
    very few of which ever did get safety tested but got GRAS rated..and then add synergistic combos that are totally UNtested for effects
    asthma/allergies anyone?
    there IS a real and present health effect for indoor air pollution.
    you dont have to stop washing or cleaning but there really are safer products than the massmarketed smelly ones.
    vinegar bicarb and plain soaps as a start..and you save a LOT of money as well.
    degassing formaledhyde from carpets foam furniture etc and the antistain fabric treatments really are a problem

  21. As a chemist I have always been amused by the caveat “known to the State of California”, which implies, as does the phrase ‘your mileage may vary’, that Truth may be different elsewhere and for other people.

    • Mileage varies greatly depending on where an how you drive. I’ve been able to beat the EPA “estimates” for most of the cars I’ve owned.

      • In the motoring world, it’s a well known fact that the drive cycle the EPA uses to determine mileage is a joke and in no way whatsoever reflects how people actually drive.

  22. When I was about 11 years old I found out that I could augment my stock of chemicals by sending off postal orders for a few shillings (old money) to a place in the East End of London. No restrictions . My favourite was aniline, sent in small bottles through the post . By the time that I got to University its handling by students was banned. Still here though.
    I once scanned all the orbituaries in “Chemistry in Britain”, which listed age at death , and came to the conclusion that if you avoided accidents, usually on the roads , in your twenties , chemists could expect to live to nearly 90.

  23. They should list the names of people who die of PM2.5 pollution in the newspaper everyday. (Hint: they do)

  24. Who worries about being irradiated while travelling to remote locations? Even when going through the magnetic pole? Practically nobody does.
    No, they worry when going to Fukushima and the tiny amount of Cs-137, because it isn’t present naturally.

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