Sci/362 Environmental Issues and Ethics

Topics: Air pollution, National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Ozone Pages: 5 (1995 words) Published: October 26, 2012
The Los Angeles Basin is a plain that lies between the Pacific Ocean and mountains to the north and east. During the summer, the sunny climate produces a layer of warm, dry air at upper elevations. Southern California counties are where almost 15 million people reside. South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is a governmental organization established in 1977 to deal with the historically poor air quality in the area surrounding Los Angeles. Air pollution injures organisms, reduces visibility, and attacks and corrodes materials such as metals, plastics, rubber, and fabrics. The respiratory tracts of animals, including humans, are particularly harmed by air pollutants, which worsen existing medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, pneumonia, and cardiovascular problems. Discussed in our paper will be several key points that will highlight very important details in regards to the efforts to reduce ozone in Southern California. Topics to be discussed are; described the historical development of the issue, the stakeholder’s involvement in the issue, and the long term effects of the problem, the responsibilities that arise from the ethical position and try to find a solution to this major problem. Air pollution in California began just after World War II. Southern California has been known to have the worst air pollution in our nation. The worst ozone pollution in Southern California was in 2006’ in the Perris and Crestline areas, then the ozone levels exceeded the federal health standard for more than 50 days. Smoke pollution is one relevant pollutant in Southern California it is occasionally called industrial smog. The major pollutants in industrial smog are sulphur oxides, nitrates, metals, organic chemicals, soil and dust particles also known as particulate matter. The unhealthiest episodes of pollution usually happen during winter months when the burning of household fuels like oil or coal is high. Another important type of smog is the brown-orange type smog called photochemical. It is called photochemical smog because sunlight starts several chemical reactions that jointly form its elements. The first signs of photochemical smog were in Los Angeles during the 1940’s. The summer months are when photochemical smog is the worst. Together nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons are included in its formation. Since the Los Angeles basin is a valley that lies between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean it is susceptible to temperature inversions. Temperature inversion is a major cause of smog in the Los Angeles area. Some of the long term effects of ozone and the hazardous compounds in smog are irritations that cause a mixture of health problems, which include burning eyes, chest discomfort and coughing. Ozone is known to suppress the immune system and bring on asthma attacks. A study of pregnant women done by the University of California in 2002 determined that these women who were exposed to high levels of ozone and carbon monoxide were three times more likely to deliver infants with serious heart complications. All Californians are in danger of having significant health problems because of the smog, but the California smog will affect mostly people with asthma and children. Experts claim that even with the most aggressive attempts to reduce a person’s exposure to the ozone they will still suffer significant health problems related to air pollution. The Children’s Health Study (CHS) provided strong evidence that air pollution at its current levels cause health problems for children in Southern California. Furthermore, there is developing evidence that air pollution is one of the causes in the increased number of children’s asthma cases diagnosed in Southern California. There were many studies done on the effects of the ozone on children in the Southern California region and it was noted that children’s exposure to the California smog can have life-long effects on...
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