Geothermal air conditioners and refrigerators can help residents avoid odors, but they’re also subject to mercury levels that can reach 1,000 times the acceptable limit, a new study finds.
Geothermal air conditions were once a key feature of California, with the state enjoying the lowest annual mercury levels of any state.
But with the spread of fracking, air conditioning and other industrial pollution, the air quality has been in decline for the past two decades, according to the study by researchers from the University of Southern California, UC Berkeley and Duke University.
The findings suggest that the problem is worsening, with a lack of enforcement of the Clean Air Act that protects people from mercury pollution.
The findings underscore the need for air quality standards, said lead author Michael J. Cavanagh, a professor of environmental engineering and materials science at the University at Buffalo.
They are also important for preventing the spread and spread of harmful airborne contaminants, including mercury, which is found in coal and oil drilling, Cavanag said.
It’s an issue that impacts people from the coast to the interior and even to places like New York City, where there is a high concentration of industrial emissions.
The researchers analyzed air quality data from four California counties, using the California Environmental Quality Index (CEQI) to measure air pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial plants and other sources.
The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study found that the state’s air quality declined from 2015 to 2017, with air quality index readings in Santa Clara County dropping 4.3 points compared with 2015, and the San Francisco Bay Area dropping 3.5 points.
The Santa Clara county average was 2.2 points.
The air quality in Santa Cruz County dropped 3.3 and the air in San Mateo County dropped 5.6 points, according the study.
The Santa Cruz study also showed that the mercury levels in the air decreased in Santa Clarita County by 1.2 point and in Los Angeles County by 0.9 point, compared with the 2015 data.
The San Francisco study found air quality improved in the city of San Francisco by 0,723 points, while in the East Bay area by 0 points, and in the San Mateos area by 3.6 point.
While mercury levels are still too high to be considered a concern, it does represent a challenge, Cavenagh said.
“If we could reduce mercury in the atmosphere by 1 point, then the air would be much cleaner,” he said.
But the findings are important for other states, which have also had significant air quality declines.
For example, a study released in April by the Environmental Protection Agency found that carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector in the United States have increased more than the country as a whole.
In California, the state has been working to address air quality issues.
In February, the legislature passed the Air Quality and Air Supply Act of 2017, which aims to improve air quality and address climate change.
Other states have passed similar legislation, and President Donald Trump has proposed a national effort to reduce air pollution.
Cavanagh said the Clean Power Plan, a U.S. effort to cut carbon emissions from coal plants and the power industry, is a good example of how a statewide effort can help address air pollution problems in the U.N. climate change conference in Paris in December.
If the Clean power Plan were adopted statewide, the pollution in the state would decrease by 40 percent, and that would reduce the mercury emission by about 30 percent, he said, adding that the plan would also help reduce mercury pollution in California.
However, the plan’s impact is likely to be limited, he added.
In California’s case, the legislation will likely require more enforcement, Cavag said, because the agency is still working on its regulations.
It also needs to be extended to other states to ensure the same standards are followed, he suggested.
This is the first time that California has tried to regulate emissions from power plants and coal plants, said Cavanage, who is also an assistant professor at the UB School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The U.K., Australia and other countries have enacted emissions-reduction policies to address the effects of air pollution, but many of them are not based on solid scientific evidence, Cavaigh said.
He said there is some evidence to suggest that reducing air pollution is not the best strategy for lowering the levels of pollutants in the environment.
But, he acknowledged, it’s difficult to control the amount of pollutants, especially in large cities.
He noted that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the United Kingdom joined in 2020, has proposed that the global average temperature rise be between 2.5 degrees Celsius and 4.5 meters.
That’s a bit warmer than the Earth has risen in the past 1,200 years