Continuing with our new feature, Environmental Week in Review, here is a summary of what we wrote about last week in Bakersfield Environmental News. As expected with the Thanksgiving holiday, maybe we were a little too busy with cooking preparations (and then eating activities!) and the number of articles wasn’t too high. But, please take a look at this in case you aren’t a subscriber or just happened to miss last week’s articles. We wrote about a variety of things – safety tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning indoors, a new photochemical smog (ozone) standard proposed by EPA that could be more stringent than California’s standard, and a $146,500 fine L’Oreal USA received for a technical violation of rules applicable to consumer hair products.
Below are short briefs of each topic, with a link to each article for further reading.
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Here is what we reported on last week:
L’Oreal USA fined $146,500 for illegal, air polluting hair care products
L’Oreal USA S/D Inc. was fined $146,500 for selling products that did not meet air quality regulations, according to an announcement by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) last week. The explanation for the penalty is sure to support arguments made by many that California’s regulatory climate is out of control and not friendly to business. Read the article at the link above to see why. Please add your comments if you agree or disagree, or just to share your thoughts on these type of violations.
EPA proposes more stringent smog standard, will impact San Joaquin Valley
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week announced that it is recommending a more stringent federal smog (ozone) standard for ambient air quality. Based upon an analysis of the latest scientific research on the effects of ozone on human health and the environment, EPA is proposing to lower the 8-hour standard from its current level of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to somewhere in the range of 65 – 70 ppb. EPA is also considering lowering the limit to a level as low as 60 ppb.
If a number less than 70 ppb is adopted, the new limits will be even more stringent than the existing California standard of 70 ppb. If adopted, the standards should impact control requirements for industrial, commercial, transportation, and other sources here in Bakersfield, the San Joaquin Valley, and the rest of California. Currently, the San Joaquin Valley fails to meet either the existing state or federal standards for ozone. More details are available at the article linked above.
Indoor Air Pollution: Carbon Monoxide
Most people associate Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley with smoggy air, little rain, and uncomfortably high temperatures, oftentimes exceeding 100 °F for weeks at a time. However, as those of us who live in the Valley know, wintertime temperatures can be very cold, many times approaching or even going below the freezing mark, especially at night.
Those cold temperatures cause us to not only dress warmly, but also to use other sources of heat, either to remain comfortable inside our houses, while working in our garages, or sometimes when doing outdoor activities, like camping. These sources include natural gas fired water heaters, wood or gas burning fireplaces, gas cooking appliances, and at times, portable electricity generators powered by gasoline. One of the dangers of using all of these different pieces of equipment stems from a very dangerous combustion product that forms when gas, wood, or gasoline is burned. That product is carbon monoxide. The article at the link above gives some tips on ensuring your safety when using combustion devices for heating, cooking, or other activities indoors.