Max Malarkey 0

Decrease Lethal Smog Output

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    Smog is the type of air pollution caused by ground-level ozone, which is formed by a reaction of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and methane in the presence of sunlight. These pollutants are mostly produced by emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents. Smog affects humans in many ways and are a large issue in many areas.
     In my home county, Chester County, PA, we are already above the existing limits and we are not alone: 322 US counties are above the limit. In many cities, people have died from smog related lung problems. In fact, some studies say 4% of deaths in the US are smog related. In humans smog decreases lung capacity and lung elasticity, and aggravates cases of asthma. It may also lead to 10-40% growth loss, and premature aging. Thousands of people in the US suffer from the effects of smog every year, with children being particularly at risk. In addition, it can kill plants, causing up to 30% less crop yield. It can lead to reduced tree growth, visibly injured leaves, and increased vulnerability to disease, insect damage and weather.
    It is time to demand that the smog limits be tightened. I agree with what the EPA is now trying to do: they are proposing lowering the limit on smog-causing particles from 75 parts per million to 60-70 parts per million, to be phased in over the next two decades. We need to act now, because the EPA makes their decision on the issue in August 2010. To do this they require our assistance, because large companies just aren't going to stand aside, they are going to try and stop the law from being passed. This is because it would force them to invest in filtering technology called scrubbers and that would be very costly. If this law is passed 12,000 premature deaths per year would be avoided.
    So let them know how we feel! If we all stand together we can save many lives, maybe even our own.

If you'd like you could also send a letter to the director of the EPA. A sample text is below.

Dear Ms. Jackson:

As someone who cares about keeping our planet clean, I am deeply concerned by the amount of pollution we produce. I am particularly concerned by the amount of smog we have produced. This smog can be harmful in many ways. Sometimes it can be fatal to human beings and other animals. In minor cases it might cause throat irritation, but in major cases it can cause lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks, and premature death. It can also cause damage to crops and plants. For all these reasons, I strongly urge you to adopt the proposed new EPA regulations tightening the limit on smog-producing pollutants.

Thank you for considering my comments.




Max Malarkey T/E Middle School Berwyn, PA


To review the proposed regulations, and submit a comment directly to the EPA, go to:


A recent study shows the harmful effects of smog on human health:

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