One-Third of Americans Breathing Too Much Soot

People in 46 American metropolitan areas breathe air that exceeds federal soot levels, according to new figures from the Environmental Protection Agency. Nearly one-third of all Americans live in affected areas.
December 30, 2008, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"More than 100 million people living in 46 metro areas are breathing air that has gotten too full of soot on some days, and now those cities have to clean up their air, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday."

"The EPA added 15 cities to the sooty air list, mostly in states not usually thought of as pollution-prone, such as Alaska, Utah, Idaho and Wisconsin. That's probably because of the prevalence of wood stoves in western and northern regions, a top EPA official said."

"The EPA notified elected officials in 211 counties in 25 states that their air violated newly tightened daily standards for fine particles of pollution from diesel-burning trucks, power plants, wood-burning stoves and other sources. Those particles, often called soot, can cause breathing and heart problems."

"These lists of what EPA calls "nonattainment areas" are important because regions that have air that is too sooty must come up with plans by 2012 on how to clean it and then do it by 2014."

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Published on Monday, December 22, 2008 in San Francisco Chronicle
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