Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from United States

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 6, 2009

“Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long-distances, and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent. Pollutants from traffic, cooking stoves, and factories emitted half a world away can make the air we inhale today more hazardous for our health. The relative importance of this ‘imported’ pollution is likely to increase, as emissions in developing countries grow, and air quality standards in industrial countries are tightened. The National Research Council’s Committee on The Significance of International Transport of Air Pollutants was tasked with examining the impact of long-range transport of four key air pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants) on air quality and pollutant deposition in the United States. The Committee also explored the environmental impacts of “U.S. emissions on other parts of the world and recommended ways to advance our understanding of these issues. They recommend that the United States work with the international community to develop an integrated system for determining pollution sources and impacts, and to design effective response strategies. Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States will be useful to international, federal, state and local policymakers responsible for understanding and managing air pollution and its impacts on human health and well-being.”

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