How toxic air clouds mental health

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Researchers have found a link between air pollution and psychological distress. The higher the level of particulates in the air, the study showed, the greater the impact on mental health. The study is believed to be the first to use a nationally representative survey pool, cross-referenced with pollution data at the census block level, to evaluate the connection between toxic air and mental health.

CO2 emissions from coal fell by record amount in 2015, led by Texas and Midwest

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with coal consumption in the United States fell by a record 231 million metric tons in 2015. More than 60% of the annual decrease occurred in 10 states, led by Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, according to EIA’s state-level carbon dioxide emissions data. Most of the decline in 2015 U.S. coal consumption occurred in the electric power sector, where reduced coal-fired electricity generation was largely offset by higher natural gas-fired electricity generation.

Slow And Upbeat EPA Response To Hurricane Harvey Pollution Angers Residents

Read the full story from NPR.

Hurricane Harvey caused industrial facilities to release an extra 5.98 million pounds of air pollution. Some people who live and work near the plants are frustrated with the federal response.

EERE Success Story — Using Advanced Modeling Tools to Make More Efficient Fans

Read the full story from EERE.

The Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) is researching opportunities to make homes safer and more efficient through the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR).

Mechanical Solutions, Inc. (MSI), a small business, is working to increase the energy efficiency of a radon mitigation technology that helps improve indoor air quality and reduce wasted energy.  Using Computational Fluid Dynamics, the radon fan was redesigned and is estimated to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 25% compared to state-of-the-art units. After completing a successful Phase I SBIR for the Building Technologies Office, Mechanical Solutions was recently awarded a Phase II SBIR contract. This will enable a more detailed and optimal design to be developed, tested, and prepared for market with MSI’s radon fan commercialization partner, Fantech.

Western Wildfires Undermining Progress on Air Pollution

Read the full report from Climate Central.

Smoke pollution is leading to serious public health impacts as large wildfires across the American West become more frequent and destructive. These fires are undermining progress made during recent decades in reducing pollution from tailpipes, power plants, and other industrial sources. The increasing frequency and area burned by large fires is linked to human-caused climate change as well as other environmental changes.

Climate Central analyzed air quality trends from 2000 through 2016 in two large California air basins that are heavily affected by smoke pollution. The analysis focused on particulate matter (PM2.5), a dangerous air pollutant. We found that while the air is getting cleaner overall in recent years, it’s getting dirtier during the fire season —  a season that research has shown is growing longer in the western United States.

Breathing Fire

Read the full story from Climate Central.

Scientists say climate change, degraded ecosystems and the fickleness of the weather have been amplifying fires in forests, grasslands and neighborhoods throughout the West. Nine times more western forestland is burning in large fires each year on average now than 30 years ago, according to calculations by two leading scientists.