New soot standard breath of fresh air

Your Turn
2012-11-30T00:00:00Z New soot standard breath of fresh airBy Curtis Noonan Helena Independent Record
November 30, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The exhausting election season is finally over, but the process of governing continues. In the rhetoric-charged environment of fiscal cliffs, health care costs and taxes it is easy to lose sight of slow-moving policies that can positively impact public health. The Obama administration is poised to make an overdue change to an important air quality standard for fine particulate matter, or soot.

Particulate matter is a pollutant regulated under the landmark, bipartisan Clean Air Act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970. Sources of particulate matter include emissions from diesel engines, coal burning and incomplete combustion of biomass material from wood stoves or wildfires.

Particulate matter is classified according to size. Fine particulate matter, also called soot, is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that are microscopic in size — about 1/30 the width of a human hair. Unlike larger particles, which can be expelled with a cough or sneeze, soot can bypass these defenses and lodge deep in our lungs.

Decades of research and thousands of studies have shown that exposure to soot can result in adverse respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes, particularly in children with asthma, the elderly with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and people with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.

The current annual standard for acceptable average soot levels is described as 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air. For a 24-hour period the current standard for soot exposure is 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Why are such standards important for communities? They serve as one of several barometers for gauging community health.

When a community’s soot levels exceed these standards, local and state agencies are compelled to develop plans to address the problem and identify a pathway to cleaner air. These actions do not occur overnight but through a deliberative process that assesses various approaches and consequences.

The agency responsible for setting national air quality standards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has proposed tightening the annual exposure limit to between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Will this change have any effect? Yes. One of the remarkable findings in recent years has been that when communities act to improve air quality, the public benefits.

On a national scale, urban soot levels have declined over the past few decades, largely driven by stricter emission standards on automobiles and industrial sources. A large national study demonstrated that these reductions in soot levels led to increases in life expectancy after accounting for other factors that changed with time and influence health.

On a smaller scale and close to home, in Libby we showed that a community-driven effort to reduce levels of soot from wood stove emissions was associated with a reduction in respiratory illnesses among children.

As with any proposed regulatory change, the new soot standard will likely be met with opposition from certain parties arguing that the cost of adherence to stricter standards is too great a burden. To this, I would argue that the cost of not taking such action is too great, and the EPA should consider even more rigid provisions.

Indeed, several organizations — such as the American Lung Association, American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics — support a stronger annual standard of 11 micrograms per cubic meter of air as well as a stronger 24-hour standard of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

The American Lung Association estimates that such soot standards would annually prevent over 35,000 premature deaths, over 23,000 hospital and emergency room visits and over 2.7 million missed days of work or school due to air pollution-caused ailments. Thus, even leaving aside the moral argument that guides communities toward protecting the health of their citizens, the anticipated savings in health care costs and productivity offer a strong positive side to any cost-based argument.

A change to this air quality standard is long overdue and is the right thing for our communities and for our economy.

Curtis W. Noonan, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Montana. His laboratory investigates the human health effects of exposure to particulate matter and other airborne hazards.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(40) Comments

  1. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 10, 2012 4:12 pm
    Not in my neck of the woods which is mostly apartment complexes/trailer courts. Only folks I know that have fireplaces aren't burning wood, they are "gas" fireplaces.

    The school meals I find is funny. I practically lived off hamburgers from the school cafeteria when I was a kid (McDonald/Wendy's when I could afford it, whats a balanced meal again?) but was also riding my bike most of the time (East Helena to Helena) swim practice and a lot of sports outside of the school. We were always getting together for throwing frisbee, playing football or baseball in a field somewhere. Talking to kids now a days, unless they are playing those sports as part of school, don't play them at all. Playing video games or being in some internet virtual reality seems to be the way of the youth now a days. Had I not had all that physical activity as a kid I'd probably have been dumpy myself. I have to say I am surprised by the amount of obesity around here.
  2. skooter
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    skooter - December 10, 2012 4:00 pm
    Dietz - large amounts of the government fleets are green cars and there is an Obama directive that any cars and light trucks purchased for gov use have to be alternative fuel vehicles by 2015...that's a fairly significant step, signed by the the President who is at the top. I think you are being impracticable to realistically suggest the the President's security sedan/limo be green. I doubt it's attainable at this point because of weight.

    You gotta know that air quality is local and matters, but it's also regional, national and international. We are still paying for that plant from 30 years ago in pollution blooms in east helena wells. There are more people, more cars (the number of cars per capital has nearly doubled from 411 in 1960 to 812 in 2002) or driving habits are different, more cars are on the road and burning fuels because of the two car/two job families, etc. You can't just say, geez, things were dirty back then and seem better now so they must be. In fact, back in the 1970's we were abuzz about places like love canal and other industrial zones...and major efforts were made to curb, remediate and regulate pollution to save our waters...hence while things are better. But just because you can't see micron size particles affecting our breathing and overall quality certainly doesn't mean they aren't there and dangerous. When we realize something is dangerous and adversely affecting our health we are smart enough as a people to want to improve the situation for our children at the very least. That seems to be lost on too many here.

    And the effects of burning here or elsewhere may not be as fully felt locally as regionally and nationally. For instance, one of the main causes of the acid rain severely affecting the Shenandoah valley, adirondacks and the smokey mts is pollution and burning from the middle of the country that causes acid rain in the east.

    Agent let me make replies are a rant, but your snickery responses are...? Insightful commentary? Just saying...kettle's still black.
  3. skooter
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    skooter - December 10, 2012 11:02 am
    Dietz - do you live in Montana? there's a ton of wood burnt in homes. I can only think of a few of my friends or neighbors who don't use wood to help heat their homes in some manner - either fireplace (with inset), wood stove or pellets.

    Car idling is a problem as well but I don't see as many extreme examples as you seem to in daily life here.

    And I would agree America needs a lot more exercise and a better diet...there are some efforts to play the same role in government helping people by helping them not harm themselves: recent changes in the school meals health requirements, NYC soda laws...tragically one needs only to look around to see the obesity epidemic here in helena. Slashing budgets for education, and reducing PE (as well as other activity budgets) does NOT help.
  4. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 10, 2012 9:43 am
    Yea skooter, I think it needs to start at the top. Certainly the President has the $$ and resources to get/afford green type vehicles. Unlike the majority of us and yet this, like other things are mandated to us but not to Congress.

    The air quality around here, less quality then years before? Hmm, lets go back 30 years when the smelter plant was running in East Helena, there were several saw mills around that burned (whatever it was they burned). I saw smoke in the air everyday as a kid, either from those two things but certainly from cars, 1 of 3 were throwing out black or blue smoke exhaust. Can't even remember seeing a car here recently throwing out the s.m.u.t I saw as a kid nor the smoke I remember seeing on any given day as a kid. Yet now we have a huge air quality problem around here? Sorry, just not seeing it.
  5. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 10, 2012 9:24 am
    Truthfully there really aren't a lot of people that are burning wood in wood stoves so much as running vehicles. If these experts were serious, particularily around here, they'd pass anti idling laws. I see folks every day that park their car and go shopping, leaving their car running the entire time to keep it warm. Or folks that go to start their car in the morning, letting it run for half an hour before going. Folks that will sit idling for many minutes waiting for that parking space right in front of the door of an establishment instead of parking away and actually walking a distance.

    Yea, there is a lot of stuff out there that cause problems in the human body. Our very life style doesn't help much. Very few exercise or play sports anymore. Kids especially, basically sitting in front of a computer playing games. I remember when I was a kid, only if you lived farther then 3 miles from a school did you get a bus ride. Past that, most of us walked or rode a bike, even in cold/snowy weather. Now kids get rides to school in a bus living less then half a mile from the school. Exercise is very important, it helps our bodies fight off a variety of sicknesses. I myself see a coorelation between rise in sickness and reduction of physical activity. Don't see anything on the books mandating physical fitness.....
  6. skooter
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    skooter - December 08, 2012 9:30 am
    Don't get sensitive now. So, it's another grand conspiracy theory? Sneaky Mr. Noonan, his sham PHD (who can't get one of those right?) and the larger science community have been planning for years to repopulate the state with science nerds and EEEEEKKKK non-pale people! You are right... MUCH smarter to ignore all evidence, science, and reason for the sheer warmth of some good old fashioned paranoia. You know what those dastardly scientists said too...that tinfoil DOESN'T do a thing to keep the Kenyan reeducation rays out of your least we know better, right.

    Ah, so it's the old don't like it get out routine. Okay, but if YOU don't like the standards the majority and our government are enacting, shouldn't it be YOU that actually leaves? I hear Somalia has a real lax environmental policy...
  7. Agent Smith
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    Agent Smith - December 07, 2012 9:51 pm
    Apparently deep enough to send you off on a rant.
  8. Agent Smith
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    Agent Smith - December 07, 2012 9:49 pm
    Skooter, if only one thing you had said about me were true, even that wouldn't wouldn't matter. Because what matters here isn't me, it's Montana. And while I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I have my suspicions about Mr. Noonan. Is he paving the way for another influx of out-of-staters... is he wanting to put a crimp on peoples' lifestyle here as a esu of making room for those people? And what happens if more do move here? Would Mr. Noonan then suggest that wood stoves be banned altogether? And what about he, himself? Without knowing more about the guy, who's to say that he's not someone who likes telling people how they should live so that he can live any way that he wants?

    As for you... blah, blah, blah - whatever. If you don't like us hillbillies and the way we live, move to some other state.
  9. skooter
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    skooter - December 07, 2012 8:56 am
    Hmmm, not sure why reply to this yesterday didn't get I'll paraphrase.

    One of the best functions of government is to protect us in the whole from ourselves and each other. So..."Do whatever makes you comfortable?" Well, I am more comfortable not spending money on a septic system for my house...but I am totally comfortable dumping it downstream into someone else's water table...or maybe your back yard. So life is a free-for-all - we all do what we want? What crazy utopia are you from?

    If everybody did what they are comfortable with...nothing would ever change. Take New Car MPG - very similar since these regs are meant to spur better, cleaner products from industry– while tough at the time they were last bumped after a decades of remaining unchanged for decades for the sake of detroit the benefits are myriad: less consumer consumption, less overall pollution and consumer savings (a 10 mpg jump will save you as much as $600 a year and close to $3000 over 5 years).

    You talk about this old world - and yes it will be around for a long time, but do we want to be too (and not wearing respirators) or living in a Blade Runner-esque paradigm. We've always polluted, but early on population counts were low enough that the consequences on the population weren't always felt as the industrial revolution grew...but our numbers aren't the same, and the science has shown us the dangers of our actions through the decade and that we need to be smart (a horrible 5-letter words to too many here) by balancing our needs and comfort with our future and health. The article itself talks about ALA figures showing 35,000 attributable deaths a year...that's significant.

    The good news is that these standards always lag far behind where they should optimally be both in timing and the strength of the regulation. Again for the sake of businesses, cleaner air restrictions have been avoided for many years now, and when they are implemented they most likely won't be as strong as the scientific & health communities recommend. But they will protect us to a great degree, they will spur business to move forward and innovate to keep up, some jobs may be effected but like all industries others will be created to deal with the changes...

    We're not a mob...and we need balance rules and regulations to keep us whole and heathy as a society. And it might be time for the to celebrate innovation, science and smart people again in Montana rather than wallowing happily in your "uneducated hillbillies" description.
  10. steeline
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    steeline - December 07, 2012 12:43 am
    sxs try to catch the Fox News once in awhile. You will be supprised to hear the facts for a change. We have to get America Right.
  11. skooter
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    skooter - December 06, 2012 10:38 pm now the President needs to ride in an electric car to recognize the danger of air pollutants that the ALA estimates involved in "35,000 premature deaths, over 23,000 hospital and emergency room visits and over 2.7 million missed days of work or school due to air pollution-caused ailments."

    You see many 10,000 lbs stretch limos with bullet proof features and anti-chemical capabilities, do ya? FYI - there are solar panels at the WH (though they were installed by JC... Carter not the other one).

    Anyway, all one needs to do is look at a bad air day here and see the effects. That doesn't mean you can't burn, but it does push cleaner burning that helps everybody breath better and safer - even you. And it pushes cleaner plants - many of which burn as inefficiently as they did when they were built. You can't be the best at things if you stick your head in the sand and want to pretend we don't have problems, and allow the causes to continue to exist. That's not the American way I am familiar with. We tackle problems and use our smarts to innovate rather than hoping to find flaws and creating fake science in order to thwart real science.

    BTW... Steeline's the one who wants to get America right back or something... perhaps that's why you are confused?
  12. Bidnessman
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    Bidnessman - December 06, 2012 12:43 pm
    So sxs, what would be your solution? You seem to have quite a few comments for others. I would suspect you might have at least one or two solutions? Or is this to petty to comment upon?
  13. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 06, 2012 9:04 am
    Hey skooter, remember that guy you just voted for? Hasn't he made using green energy part of his push to get America right? Uh, don't see him driving an electric car, living in a house powered by solar panels (you remember that company he invested our tax dollars in, right?) Oh but then there is that common sense thing. He, like all other politicians can make all those laws about energy efficiency but doesn't apply to the gods in Congress or the god in the Presidents chair.
  14. sxs
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    sxs - December 05, 2012 8:13 pm
    Right, Agent Smith, the "just tough it out, I'll cure you by stroking you hair" method of treatment is under utilized when a child (or anyone) is gasping for breath, especially if the affliction (if you can even call it that) is chronic. Hasn’t hair stroking been proven to be an efficacious treatment for such ailements? I think I may've read something about it in JAMA.
  15. sxs
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    sxs - December 05, 2012 8:00 pm
    So, logger, are you saying that since forest fires produce airborne particulates, we should feel free to intentionally add to it? That doesn't make any sense. It sounds like you're asserting that, if we regulate airborne particulates from wood stoves, we should also regulate airborne particulates from wild fires. Nonsensical.
  16. sxs
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    sxs - December 05, 2012 7:54 pm
    Fluecube: you're being facetious, right? Considering your clumsy sentence structure AND your weirdo assertions/ideas, I can't believe that your little rant is meant to be taken seriously. You're a card!
  17. sxs
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    sxs - December 05, 2012 7:43 pm
    Agent Smith and Deitz, are you those guys who don't wash their hands after using the toilet and store raw chicken and coleslaw in the same Tupperware container?
  18. sxs
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    sxs - December 05, 2012 7:32 pm
    What a ridiculously cryptic "foot note." steeline, what is our government "doing/not doing this very day" that relates to anything in this thread? And exactly how do YOU know that whatever experts you're referring to are only "so called experts?" Good grief.
  19. Bidnessman
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    Bidnessman - December 05, 2012 11:46 am
    Dr Noonan is but one opinion. Yes he is educated, and yes you can find whatever information you need to back your opinion either from the web or the library from whatever author you would choose. Do whatever makes you comfortable. If you feel that not driving, or not having a wood burner, or anything else that makes you feel that you are doing your part to keep our air cleaner, than just do it! Pretty simple now isn't it?

    Myself, I think this old world has been around for a long time and has seen far worse than the human race. It will more than likely be around for a much longer time than us uneducated hillbillies watching the Dukes or scanning the web for climate change....
  20. skooter
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    skooter - December 05, 2012 11:18 am
    Oh my God - that's so deep. You're some kinda of oracle wrapped in an enigma and capable of seeing what everybody else is missing, right? Maybe it REALLY is the matrix...hoogity boogity!

    Cheap, that's what it really is. Let's return to want to play mel gibson in "Conspiracy Theory" go right ahead, The fact is many are too willing to focus on the trees in front of them rather than the whole forest. It's great that Agent Smith has a high paying job at the mine that pays him very well, but the downside is that Agent Smith doesn't really concern himself with the long term health or safety of his occupation, neither is his employer concerned as there are always plenty of Smith's looking for big pay (and Agent Smith will probably even make his own replacement one day)...nor is he too concerned if his company pollutes the water of thousands of neighbors, goes bankrupt the moment the vein runs dry and sticks the community with a huge cleanup bill, or if the community suffers from air pollution...AGENT SMITH IS GETTING HIS AND CAN TAKE CARE OF HIS NUCLEAR FAMILY SO HE'S HAPPY even if he dies 10-15 years younger (and probably hooked up to a respirator and sucking on the federal teat he's railed against right up until he needed it).

    It's a farce - but the fact is that too many people think this now, who cares about the consequences, costs later or fallout for others. There's longer consequences to all of it - and bring it up, quantifying it and even changing standards is the smart approach. The dumb approach is burying your head in the sands to pretend it's all a Matrix like conspiracy or cover up.

    They used to say the same things about asbestos and vermiculite - but the grand conspiracy wasn't that people were wrong about the dangers - it was that the company knew long before and didn't care that it was dangerous because they were making really good profits. Ask the families in Libby whether a little balance between making money and protecting their workers would have been welcomed? Would they have liked a 'college-boy' scientist on site looking into the particulate levels for them and warning them of the dangers? I'm thinking yes. Better to be alive and bit poorer than dead and leaving a little money for your family (that's probably eaten up by medical bills anyway).

    Do you tell workers who are getting Bronchiolitis in popcorn-factories because of particulate buildup that they are just making it up...a figment of their imaginations too? Is acid rain destroying forests in the smokey's just a function of the matrix pulling the wool over or eyes. Might be time to put the Philip K 'Duck" novel down and grow up a bit.
  21. Agent Smith
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    Agent Smith - December 04, 2012 11:43 pm
    If people in control of things were as smart as they think they are, they'd be getting away with anything and no one would know.
  22. skooter
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    skooter - December 04, 2012 4:22 pm
    God - you guys are like a pantomime of a gross exaggeration of a Larry the Cable Guy skit. Every bit of science, warning or result is a conspiracy to "control people" or made up science, or worthless argument. Astounding.

    It would be laughable (or something to actually cry over the ignorance) if you guys didn't actually write it AND believe it. I guess you guys called seat belts a liberal bureaucrat's attempts to control you instead of a safety device to save lives? Feel the same way about windshields when those lousy feds made us start using them? I guess cigarette smoke is still not so bad to you, and those around you and you probably smoke in the car with your kids because what's some scientist going to tell you to override your intuitive genius? How dare they tell us anything...right?!? Asbestos...what do they know about particulate science! Breath deep, breath proud! Black Lung? Back in my day my dad worked all day in the mine and never complained even after he died at 35!

    Unlike you people just making things up about stuff you know nothing about, these are scientists (yeah, gasp, smart people) doing tests, publishing results that are scrutinized. There are substantial finding about the dramatic rise in asthma and other breathing issues being caused here, nationally and globally. But of course, what does that matter? Must be made up because it's outside your vast world view and extended real-world knowledge. These are some of the most idiotic comments I have ever seen here. Just what we need is a country/world run by something by a cast of pale caricatures and jingoist stupidity that would made Enos, Cooter and the crew on the Dukes of Hazard seem insightful.

    Thank God smarter people than any of you continue to be in control of things...
  23. sxs
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    sxs - December 04, 2012 12:24 pm
    I get your point, kenwin. But when the air you are polluting is the air I am breathing, your argument fails. I wish it were otherwise, believe me. Maybe if we weren't using so much other polluting fuels, those cozy and necessary fires wouldn't tip us over to the unhealthy side of air quality.
  24. sxs
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    sxs - December 04, 2012 12:04 pm
    You wonder? Then why don't you find out and present some information? Unfounded innuendo is as dangerous as bad science or paranoia.
  25. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 03, 2012 2:56 pm
    I agree with Agent Smith. Wait a few years lowdog, and whatever MD/PHD put out something on today will be further looked into and reversed. Look at this article, "Decades of research and thousands of studies have shown that exposure to soot can result in adverse respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes". Think about that statement for a moment. I am not an MD or have any PHD in this area, but common sense tells me if I breath anything in other then the mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen by body was built to breath that exposure to ANYTHING but that could result in health problems whether it be soot, dirt or anything else. I don't need an expert to tell me that.

    Let me give you some examples of "experts" decisions over the years. One was back in the 90s whenever someone got an illness of any kind, antibotics were immediately thrown at it. Come to find out some years later, immediately throwing antibotics instead of letting the body attempt to combat the illness first was causing many peoples immune systems to break down quicker and general illnesses (like the flu) to gain strength. Now they have reversed that. Here's another one, ADD and ADHD in children. Now, if you read the DSM IV which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders on these two disorders, for an adult I can see it and there of course may be some kids that bonefidely have these disorders. Otherwise, it sounds to me the definition of a kid at a young age, not to many 4-8 year olds I know that don't have a short attention span because, they're kids. I know I didn't, seemed like my attention was all over the place when I was a kid and was always getting into trouble (rather be out playing then stuck in a classroom), interestingly enough I was never medicated and grew out of it. In any case, what have the "experts" done? Throw meds at young kids to "control" something that is inheritant to kids. Here recently these same "experts" have decided its probably not a good idea to throw such meds at kids since they were never approved and tested for kids to begin with, rather on adults. My personal favorite with the DSM IV manual LGBT. For over 20 years the "experts" touted that as a sickness. Now of course, it isn't considered a sickness by the experts.

    The list goes on an on, sugar being bad so they develop something to replace sugar that tends to be more dangerous then sugar and now they are saying sugar is better then the synthetic replacement. Alcohol in any form, any quantity has been shown by experts to be bad, while other experts have actually said a glass or wine every once and a while can be good for you.
  26. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 03, 2012 2:29 pm
    I swear, we must physically be getting weaker as a society. I can still remember as a kid without all these controls, seemed like 1 out of every 3 vehicles were putting out a lot of blue or black smoke. Now a days, I rarely see even so much as one vehicle putting out this and yet we have a national problem, peoples healths are in danger and so on. Geez oh petes
  27. steeline
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    steeline - December 03, 2012 10:35 am
    Just a foot note here. For those who blindly buy into the so called "experts." Consider what our government is doing/not doing this very day. And we elected all of them because we believed that they were the "experts" that would do our bidding. Now we all face the same fate. Don't be blinded by the light. We have to get America Right.
  28. MtMadeMan
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    MtMadeMan - December 02, 2012 4:21 pm
    I wonder how much funding the Dr. gets from the feds for his research?

    Follow the money.
  29. kenwin
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    kenwin - December 01, 2012 11:40 am
    It is easy to put out some filters and see what particulate matter gets trapped in it. What I don't like about that: is what are the comparisons? What do I save by burning wood? I can heat my house all day on natural gas or electricity but what are those costs? And I am not just talking about money. I get tired of other people telling me how I should live. I get it. We should all move into a metropolitan areas live on top of each other, have high speed Internet, access to public transportation, universal healthcare, and take pharmaceutical medicines so we don't kill each other. It is the livability and sustainability of the 21st century. If you like that thne you do it. But quit forcing me to accept it.
  30. Agent Smith
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    Agent Smith - December 01, 2012 2:01 am
    Did the doctor happen to mention that airborn particulates include just about anything from pollen to ordinary dust? Did he bother to ask if any household cleansers or room deodorizers had been used prior to the child's respiratory distress? Did it occur to him to ask the obvious - is there a mine, or some sort of factory or processing plant or a farm or dirt roads nearby where the child lives? No doubt that the doctor had to do something and do it quick. And that's apparently a good thing. But were tests done offering conclusive evidence of an airborn particulate induced asthma attact or did the doctor merely act upon a a symptomatic condition?

  31. Fluecube
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    Fluecube - November 30, 2012 11:13 pm
    I'd speculate that Noonan is a fraud indoctrinated through university with this Clean Air Act rubbish, so is anyone who graduated a "scientist", "lawyer" or politician tied up in this particulate matter fraud. Soot - something you can plainly see when it is produced. It is black and dusty. It is a biproduct of incomplete combustion. We don't need some pointless person to tell us again what soot is when they don't even know what is in their particulate matter. IT IS POINT SOURCE SPECIFIC. Particulate matter cannot, in any way possible be classified a generic poison or be attributed to "soot". These are desperate people looking for a job where none of their education sticks because their entire environmental education around this particulate matter stupidity is full of statistical, comparative and cost benefit - government fund begging rubbish. "oh, but the Lung Association said..." THE LUNG Association are funded by the EPA to get value out of their epidemiology estimates. It's the laziest form of so called science out there.
  32. logger
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    logger - November 30, 2012 9:46 pm
    I wonder if the scientist can tell us how many "micrograms/ cubic meter" of particulates were in Montana's air this last summer from forest fires? What, maybe 100 times than that from some coal fired power plant somewhere. Every summer in Montana is like that. Asthma sufferers must have been droppin like flies last summer. I don't think anybody believe's that that your local coal fired powerplant is killing anybody.
  33. Agent Smith
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    Agent Smith - November 30, 2012 9:12 pm
    Oh, ye of little faith, how hard would it have been to hold that child in your arms, stroke her hair, and simply ask her to breath? Or was it easier to have her taken to a hospital, tranquilized and put on a respirator?

  34. Agent Smith
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    Agent Smith - November 30, 2012 8:38 pm
    Insult? Of course insult. Because here's some guy preaching to me about the health of our environment when for all I know, he might be living in a 50,000 sq.ft. house with three wood-burning fireplaces and drives a two-ton SUV. So if we're going to have facts, let's have all the facts. Otherwise, I'm left to suppose that here's yet another meat-puppet wanting to be my daddy.

    As for MDs and Ph.D.s with laboratories and decades of training in the scientific method. It only takes common sense to know that years of education and training has only made 98.6% of the medical community just smart enough to realize that they're not going to make a living off of healthy people.
  35. kathylovesred
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    kathylovesred - November 30, 2012 4:32 pm
    So glad there is such an abundance of expert scientists to comment on this article. (Insert sarcasm here). Guess none of these conspiracy theorists ever sat at the side of a grandchild's hospital bed, watching that precious child strain and struggle against airborne particulate-induced asthma to draw in a breath. Take it from me - it's awful.
  36. lowdog
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    lowdog - November 30, 2012 2:07 pm
    First rule of the right wing ignoranti: When confronted with facts you can't refute -insult.
    You guys know better than an MD and a PHD with a lab and decades of training in the scientific method, because you have an opinion and a computer. I hope you treat your own lung disease when the time comes because you obviously know your stuff way better than the medical community.
  37. steeline
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    steeline - November 30, 2012 10:57 am
    The more they scare the people the more they can control the people. The "Clean Air Act" is being used to gain control and justify spending by big government. Just like anything big government wants, they start out with a small deal and make it a big deal later on once people get used to an idea. For example, you used to be able to go into the woods to cut down a Christmas Tree, then they made it so you had to have a "free tag" to cut a tree down for Christmas and now you have to pay for the tags and they tell you where you go and how you do it. Along with this concept comes an expensive bureaucracy to manage the program. If the "Clean Air Act" was all that effective then Montana wouldn't be able to sell coal to China who has no air quality standards and pollutes the same air we breath here in Helena. Proof of the is a few years ago, maybe more than a few, China had a bad dust storm. The dust made to the USA mainland and we had it here in the Helena area and my guess so is the radiation from Japan. So my point is that the government makes the environmental rules to say they are protecting us while ignoring the rules when they sell coal to polluting nations. This is why I claim we are being scammed by our government so that we get frightened enough to vote for the the big spenders to take care of us. "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson. "We have to take America back. " Steeline
  38. hatrack71
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    hatrack71 - November 30, 2012 9:58 am
    Natural gas AND nuclear. And we all know how safe nuclear energy is if the grid goes down, don't we? Fukushima, Chernobyl, etc. Not to mention the current nuclear plants that are so old the structures are leaking. Here in the states. Isn't the writer of this letter insinuating that we ban all wood burning devices for cleaner air? That's what I read into it at least. Also, for folks who DO NOT want to be on grid and dependent on energy companies and their rising costs- this is a definite negative. You said it yourself, they're cleaner burning wood stoves. So what's the problem with those?
  39. Independentminded
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    Independentminded - November 30, 2012 8:01 am
    By the way electric generating plants are switching to natural gas because it's cheaper than coal. And they have new wood stoves that don't pollute the air. Where do you get this information that electric generating plants are shutting down? Do you want to go back to when we had rivers on fire in the U.S,A.? (that wasn't that long ago, in my lifetime)
  40. hatrack71
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    hatrack71 - November 30, 2012 5:48 am
    Another environmentalist set out to destroy the lives of Montanans. Wood smoke? C'mon, you are shooting yourself in the foot. With the shutting down of coal plants nationwide, we are going to be facing power outages in the future. If you want to not use wood as fuel to stay warm, cook and survive, that's all good for you. But to force that type of thought on Montanans who have been using wood fueled stoves forever is ludicrous. You and your socialist cronies are right about one thing, you will be met by much opposition. I suppose you are one of those who won't rest until Montana has zero industry and is a 100% nanny state. Good grief, you people are everywhere- get lost!

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