Air Pollution

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If you have asthma or heart disease, you know the quality of the air you breathe is very important: airborne particles can have a big impact on human health. That’s why researchers at Washington State University are looking into how climate change might affect air quality.

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Oregon Governor Kate Brown asked state lawmakers Wednesday to spend millions of dollars more to support air monitoring by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Paul Allen's company Vulcan Inc. are teaming up to stage a $40 million to $50 million winner-take-all competition. The prize will go to the "mid-sized" American city that comes up with the best plan to use technology of any sort to improve mobility and reduce pollution. 

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Washington is taking legal action against Volkswagen in the wake of a diesel vehicle scandal. The state said the automaker exposed residents to harmful air pollution by intentionally cheating on federal emissions tests.

Back in September, Volkswagen admitted to installing special software in some of its diesel vehicles, causing them to give false readings during presale air quality tests. Forty-seven states, including Washington and Oregon announced investigations.

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Neighborhoods where non-English speaking Latinos live, tend to have the most toxic air quality.

That’s according to new research out of Washington State University.

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Air pollution caused by wood stoves in Washington is in line with federal clean air requirements for the first time in seven years.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency lowered its limits on air pollution. For most of Washington state, that wasn’t a problem. But the air in Pierce County was too polluted from wood stove smoke. The fine particulate from that smoke has been linked to asthma and heart attacks and high blood pressure.

EPA Says Idaho Must Clean Up The Air In The Silver Valley

Aug 20, 2014
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The EPA has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

Higher Nitrate Air Pollution In Central Wash.

Apr 11, 2014

Researchers have found the source of an unusual pocket of air pollution in central Washington. Tiny particles from large agricultural operations mix with vehicle exhaust. That creates nitrate pollution.

China Exporting More Than Just Goods To US

Jan 22, 2014

The goods produced in China and sold to the U.S. come at an environmental cost, according to a new study. Scientists are linking air pollution in the Western United States to China’s booming exports.

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Twenty below zero. That was the record breaking low in Klamath Falls Oregon this weekend. And the temperature has stayed below freezing. But county health officials are urging people in town not to fire up their woodstoves. The cold front is also creating a pollution problem.

Portland-based manufacturer Precision Castparts is denouncing a recent study that ranked the company number one in the nation for toxic air pollution.

Portland-Based Manufacturer Tops List Of Toxic Polluters

Aug 23, 2013

The Portland-based manufacturing firm Precision Castparts Corporation is the number one toxic air polluter in the country in a new ranking released by the University of Massachusetts.

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Several areas in the Pacific Northwest are experiencing unhealthy air. Winter weather conditions have trapped air pollution near the ground.

Photo courtesy University of Washington

Researchers have discovered something they didn’t expect in the air above an Oregon mountain: hundreds of tiny organisms from Asia. The study suggests the atmosphere is filled with life capable of traveling long distances. Jessica Robinson reports.

Residents Report Central Washington Smells Like Smoke

Sep 13, 2012
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The smell of smoke hangs in the air across much of central Washington Wednesday. At least four significant wildfires are burning around Wenatchee, making the skies hazy. Vicky Cibcki works at the Anjou Bakery near the town of Cashmere.

A Seattle-based seafood company has been fined 430,000 dollars for violations of the Clean Air Act. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

Icicle Seafoods harvests and sells salmon, crab Pollock and other fish from the waters of the Northwest and Alaska. And one of the key components of catching fish and bringing them to market – is refrigerant.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- There are now six new export terminals proposed to be built along the Northwest coast. The goal? To bring American coal to Asia, via train and ship.

If these terminals are approved that could mean more than 100 million tons of coal traveling by rail across Idaho, Washington and Oregon every year.

The potential for more train traffic has public health experts concerned. EarthFix reporters Ashley Ahearn and Courtney Flatt have the story.