Posts tagged with "Boulder Colorado"

Michigan is first U.S. state to ban flavored e-cigarettes

September 5, 2019

Just a couple of weeks following the first U.S. death to be officially attributed to vaping, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, has announced her decision to institute a statewide prohibition on all flavored electronic cigarettes, including the sweet, fruity, and menthol varieties.

The ban is due to go into effect today, but retailers will have 30 days to comply, according to a report by The Huffington Post.

Michigan, thus, becomes the first state to prohibit flavored e-cigarettes, which preliminary studies have shown are more likely to get young people hooked on vaping, according to The Washington Post.

 “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,” Whitmer told the DC-based newspaper of misleading descriptions like “safe” and “healthy” to advertise vaping products.

Whitmer noted that she’d been compelled to take action after the state Department of Health and Human Services declared vaping among young people a public health emergency.

And it’s not the only one to do so.

On Friday, August 23, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported the death of an individual who had recently vaped and had been hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness. A total of 22 people, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have so far been diagnosed with the illness and IDPH officials are working with local health departments to investigate 12 more individuals. The Illinois department has requested help from the Centers for Disease control to track and address the disease.

Several U.S. cities also have taken steps in recent months to place limits on vaping.  San Francisco in June became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes. Last week, Boulder, Colorado, finalized a ban on flavored e-cigarette products. Sacramento, California, has also approved a similar ban.

In March, The HuffPost reports, the Food and Drug Administration proposed restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, except for menthol, mint and tobacco flavors. The FDA proposal has not been finalized.

Research contact: @HuffPost

NOAA: Pollution from personal care products is comparable to tailpipe emissions in Boulder

August 26, 2019

Motor vehicles have long been recognized as a dominant source of pollution. But a new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that—during the morning rush hour in Boulder, Colorado—the trail of chemical vapors emitted by commuters who have applied a variety of personal care products to their skin and hair is comparable in magnitude to the  emissions of major components of vehicle exhaust.

People, it turns out, are a major source of pollution too, NOAA has found.

“We detected a pattern of emissions that coincides with human activity,” said lead author Matthew Coggon, a CIRES scientist working at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. “People apply these products in the morning, leave their homes, and drive to work or school. We see emissions spike in the morning and show a lower peak again at the end of the day.”

The  study findings, published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, confirms other recent findings, which demonstrate that chemical emissions from personal care products can contribute significantly to urban air pollution.

Among the chief culprits: D5 Siloxane, short for decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, a common ingredient added to shampoos, lotions, and other personal care products to give them a smooth, silky feeling.

Siloxane belongs to a class of chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are designed to evaporate. Once released into the atmosphere, NOAA says, sunlight can catalyze reactions between VOCs, nitrogen oxides, and other compounds to form ozone and particulate matter—two types of pollution that are regulated because of their effects on air quality and human health.

Coggon and his colleagues measured VOCs from the roof of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in December 2015 and January 2017—and from a mobile laboratory driving around  Boulder during rush hour in February, 2016. They sampled everything they could, including compounds such as benzene, which are known markers of vehicle exhaust.

“We were surveying the air, monitoring every chemical compound our instrument was sensitive to—about 150 compounds,” said Coggon. From that soup of chemicals, one compound in particular caught their attention. “We found a big peak in the data but we didn’t know what it was,” he said.

Based on the measurements, Patrick Veres, a NOAA scientist and co-author on the paper, suggested the suspect might be a chemical known as D5 siloxane, a refined petroleum product he recognized from another research project. When Coggon’s team saw that siloxane levels appeared to rise and fall throughout the day in step with measurements of  benzene emissions from traffic, they initially theorized siloxane was a component of vehicle exhaust. But when they tested tailpipe emissions directly and took roadside measurement, siloxane was absent.

Siloxane and benzene weren’t coming from the same source, but Coggon and his colleagues recognized that the chemicals were linked with a particular human behavior: Commuting.

By studying their data hour-by-hour, they realized siloxane emissions peaked in the morning, when people put on personal care products and went outside into their cars or buses. That’s when benzene emissions went up too. Emissions of both chemicals decreased during the day, then peaked again during the evening commute. The evening peak of siloxane emissions was lower than in the morning, because, they theorized, the personal care products had largely evaporated throughout the day.

The findings support an emerging body of research into the role of consumer and industrial products as  sources of urban air pollution.

The research team is looking at other chemicals in personal care products that may also spike in the morning, as people commute. “We all have a personal plume, from our cars and our personal care products,” said Coggon.

Research contact: @NOAAResearch