Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Despite significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada's standards for ozone air pollution

Date:
August 22, 2014
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
While the Greater Toronto Area has significantly reduced some of the toxins that contribute to smog, the city continues to violate the Canada-wide standards for ozone air pollution, a study shows. Smog, which can cause or aggravate health problems such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is produced by a set of complex photochemical reactions involving volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides and sunlight, which form ground-level ozone.

Despite a significant reduction in smog-producing toxins in past decade, GTA still violates Canada's ozone standards

A new study shows that while the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has significantly reduced some of the toxins that contribute to smog, the city continues to violate the Canada-wide standards for ozone air pollution.

Smog, which can cause or aggravate health problems such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is produced by a set of complex photochemical reactions involving volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides and sunlight, which form ground-level ozone. Smog-forming pollutants come from many sources including automobile exhaust, power plants, factories and many consumer products, such as paint, hairspray, charcoal starter fluid and chemical solvents. In a typical urban area, at least half of the smog precursors come from cars, buses, trucks and boats. Research led by Jennifer Murphy of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto has found that in the GTA between 2004 and 2012, nitrogen oxides and VOCs were reduced by at least 20 per cent between 2004 and 2012.

"These reductions are in line with the city's 2007 commitment to reducing smog precursors, and can be attributed to the implementation of pollution control measures like the Drive Clean program, and the closure of coal-fired power plants in the region," said Murphy.

Despite this good news, ozone concentrations are not following the same encouraging patterns. Canada-wide standards for ozone continued to be exceeded at all monitoring stations in the GTA. While the team noted lower ozone levels between 2008 and 2011 than in previous years, 2012 marked one of the highest recorded summer ozone concentrations as well as a large number of smog episodes.

Major smog occurrences often are linked to heavy motor vehicle traffic, high temperatures, sunshine and calm winds. Weather and geography affect the location and severity of smog. Because temperature and sunlight regulates the length of time it takes for smog to form, smog can occur more quickly and be more severe on a hot, sunny day.

"We are able to show that high ozone in 2012 was due to the relatively high number of sunny days that allowed ozone to be produced quickly, and low winds, that allowed the pollution to accumulate locally," said Murphy.

The team obtained the data from federal and provincial government monitoring sites throughout the GTA between 2000 and 2012. Their study, entitled "The impacts of precursor reduction and meteorology on ground-level ozone in the Greater Toronto Area," was published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics on August 15, 2014. Other members of the U of T research team are Stephanie C. Pugliese, Jeffrey A. Geddes and Jonathan M. Wang.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Kim Luke. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. C. Pugliese, J. G. Murphy, J. A. Geddes, J. M. Wang. The impacts of precursor reduction and meteorology on ground-level ozone in the Greater Toronto Area. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2014; 14 (15): 8197 DOI: 10.5194/acp-14-8197-2014

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Despite significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada's standards for ozone air pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140822084248.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2014, August 22). Despite significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada's standards for ozone air pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140822084248.htm
University of Toronto. "Despite significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada's standards for ozone air pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140822084248.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins