Top Air News

Government set to face fresh legal challenge over air pollution crisis.

Legal NGO ClientEarth to take the government back to court if it fails to set out a new range of measures to tackle Britain’s toxic air. The Guardian

The day the sky turned red - but what caused rare phenomenon?

Did you wake up to a ghostly red sun today or witness a strange red hue to the sky on your lunch break or as you left work? Many people in England reported the phenomenon on Monday morning - and it appears to have been caused by Hurricane Ophelia. The Telegraph, United Kingdom

India orders Delhi power plant, generator shutdown as air worsens.

The Indian government ordered diesel generators and a power plant in Delhi to be shut down on Tuesday as air quality in the capital deteriorated ahead of the Hindu festival of lights, when a night of firecrackers sends pollution levels rocketing. Reuters

Exposure to air pollution before birth may shorten our lives.

Pollution affects us even in the womb: Women who are exposed to air pollution during pregnancy have babies with shorter telomeres (a genetic biomarker), a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics found. CNN

Our Reporting on Air

More news from EHN

Pollution and stress at home combine to spur more hyperactivity.

Breathing dirty air and living in stress combine to increase the likelihood NYC kids will have a behavior disorder. Environmental Health News

Intense storms may diminish protective ozone in Central US.


Stronger storms over the Great Plains—likely induced by climate change—may be chipping away at the key life-protecting layer of our atmosphere. Daily Climate

Coal to solar switch could save 52,000 US lives per year.

Swapping out coal energy for solar would prevent 52,000 premature deaths in the United States every year. Daily Climate

Hog poop bacteria from big NC farms taints nearby homes.

Brian Bienkowski

As the state bats around a bill shielding hog farms from some nuisance lawsuits, new evidence filed in court last week finds harmful bacteria on homes near large confinement farms. Environmental Health News

Respect the elderly: Saving cities’ oldest trees.

Daniel Axler

Old growth forests are increasingly rare in U.S. cities—protecting these health-boosting relics from bulldozers, invasives and apathy is no easy feat. Environmental Health News


Health study in Sarnia’s ‘Chemical Valley’ is long overdue.

Sarnia and its environs are home to 57 polluters. Yet the government has never done a baseline study to see how residents are affected and its reporting system on chemical leaks appears lax. more…

California burns: Where is the president?

As raging wildfires devour the lives, homes and dreams of Californians in an unprecedented scale, one voice has been conspicuously mute: President Trump. more…

Maine will suffer from EPA chief's pro-coal stand.

A warming climate and polluted air are all we have to gain from keeping dirty power plants running. more…

Climate and air pollution

In cities, it's the smoke, not the fire, that will get you.

As climate-change fuels increasingly large and frequent wildfires that hit closer and closer to densely populated urban centers, the smoke they produce is becoming a public health crisis. Wired

Sponges, urban forests and air corridors: How nature can cool cities.

As China battles the twin challenges of rapid city growth and extreme weather, it is adopting a new tactic: Turning its cities into giant sponges. Thomson Reuters Foundation

As wildfires burn in west, ash rides wind high across U.S.

Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest this summer gave rise to dangerous air quality throughout the region, and generated plumes of smoke that spread across vast swaths of North America. New York Times

EPA won't release benzene levels collected after Harvey; private testing shows elevated levels.

Environmental groups hired a private firm after the flooding and found higher than normal levels of dangerous chemicals in the air around a refinery. Texas Tribune, Texas ProPublica


Trump abandons efforts to clean up Utah's air.

Three million Utahns will be the victims if clean cars are run off the road by the clown car at the White House. more…

Don’t penalize farmers for Delhi’s air pollution.

As farmers seek monetary help, and have openly flouted the ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal on burning of paddy straw, a direct confrontation between the agitating farmers and the government is on the anvil. more…

EPA clears way for more pollution.

If you want the Trump administration to favor coal plants, then that's what you are getting. Just don't call it a competitive market when dirty energy is allowed to pollute for free in order to compete with clean energy. more…


'Shocking' spike in Hunter Valley's coal-linked air pollution fails to prompt action.

Air pollution from the Hunter Valley coal mines gets so bad for Wendy Wales on occasion that she has called neighbours warning them of a bushfire, mistaking the dust for smoke. Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Dirty birds show just how catastrophic air pollution used to be.

Air pollution in American cities may have been even worse than historians thought. Washington Post

Pollution could increase as Illinois governor, EPA moves to rescue coal plants.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is pushing to overhaul stringent limits on lung-damaging pollution from some of the last coal-fired power plants in Illinois. Chicago Tribune, Illinois

Grim news from the front line of China’s battle against air pollution.

Pollution peak arrives early as factories in Hebei ramp up production. South China Morning Post, China

Pruitt eyes changes to air pollution permitting regime.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signaled a renewed effort to challenge an air pollution permitting program, known as New Source Review, through a task force that is looking to provide “certainty” to industry. Bloomberg BNA

Can coal remain the bedrock of Wyoming’s economy?

As companies experiment with “clean coal,” cheaper and cleaner fuels are taking over. High Country News

Solutions and Good News

The first smog-filtering bicycles will roll out in China by the end of the year.

A bike-share startup has developed a bike that can collect polluted air, purify it, and release the clean air around the cyclist. Quartz

Electric cars win? Britain to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040.

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 in an attempt to reduce air pollution that could herald the end of over a century of reliance on the internal combustion engine. Reuters

Sewage rehab.

After decades of work, green chemistry may be the answer to polluted sewage. Hakai Magazine


China's pollution crackdown is gaining momentum.

In pockets of China’s industrial heartland, a government push to clean up the environment and cut excess output is starting to bite: Furnaces have gone cold, the lights have been switched off, migrant workers are drifting back home. Bloomberg News

Air pollution kills half a million people in Europe, EU agency reports.

Dirty air resulted in the premature deaths of more than 500,000 people in the European Union in 2014, the European Environment Agency reports. Deutsche Welle, Germany

Beijing philanthropist commits $1.5 billion to conservation.

In China, a culture of environmental awareness is breaking through the smog. And leading the charge is He Qiaonv, one of the country’s wealthiest women and most ardent conservationists. Bloomberg News

Oxford aims for world’s first zero emissions zone with petrol car ban.

Petrol and diesels vehicles will be banned from Oxford city centre under plans to bring in what officials believe would be the world’s first zero-emissions zone. The Guardian

New airplane biofuels plan would 'destroy rainforests', warn campaigners.

A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops. The Guardian


Firefight in Sonoma County reaches second week as flames force thousands to evacuate.

An army of firefighters with a larger aerial arsenal at their disposal held made some gains Saturday on devastating wildfires ravaging Wine Country, but a rising death toll offered clear reminder of the peril that still grips the region. Santa Rosa Press Democrat, California

Photos: Smoke from Wine Country fires traveled as far as Mexico.

It can be challenging to put the devastation of the Wine Country fires into perspective, but when viewed from such great heights, one's cognitive distance quickly shrinks. San Francisco Chronicle, California

California fires leave 31 dead, a vast landscape charred, and a sky full of soot.

The reach of the blazes is spreading dramatically further by the day, as thick plumes of smoke blow through population centers across the Bay Area. New York Times

Napa fires make San Francisco air worse than Beijing, causing a run on masks.

Home Depot is sold out of face masks, people sleeping in shelters have bandanas tied around their faces. USA Today

Editor comments: Think health aftermath of 9-11.  Burning construction materials and household goods is likely to have lasting health consequences for residents and first responders. -JPM

California fires making more pollution than a year of traffic.

In just the past two days fires in California’s wine country are thought to have produced as much small particulate matter as all the vehicles in the state produce in a year. Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada

Trump’s pro-coal agenda is a blow for clean air efforts at Texas' Big Bend park.

For decades Big Bend's stunning vistas have been compromised by poor air quality that Texas, working with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, is supposed to address. The Guardian