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Think Out Loud

Environmental Update

Pete Springer/OPB

A new study conducted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Portland Air Toxics Solutions Advisory Committee found a dramatic decrease in air quality over the last 30 years. Efforts to reduce lead, smog and carbon dioxide in the air have been successful but a new threat — air toxics — is catching attention.

Air toxics include diesel soot, benzene, car exhaust, some metals and the waste from fireplaces and wood burning stoves. These toxics are known to cause serious health problems including cancer and respiratory irritation. According to the report, the current level of air toxics in Portland can lead to health problems.

The report also found that, as is true in other places around the country, air quality is lower in low-income neighborhoods.

What do you see as the worst threats to air quality? Is improved air quality a priority in your household?


  • Cassandra Profita: OPB’s Ecotrope blogger
air quality environment

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