by Kerry Kelly
If you think this winter’s inversion is among the worst in recent years, you’re not alone.
Utah’s Division of Air Quality reports that so far in the winter of 2013, Salt Lake County
has experienced 22 days in which pollution levels have exceeded federal air quality
Air pollution in Utah is becoming a growing concern. There are obvious health
ramifications cited in studies connecting air pollution to increased death rates, adverse
cardiac effects, childhood asthma and other conditions. And there are other problems
connected to the Wasatch Front developing a reputation for bad air including what
the economic impact will be: will businesses choose to locate in states other than Utah
because of environmental quality issues?
The University of Utah plans to study those issues and others connected to air pollution
at the newly created Program for Air Quality, Health and Society. The program will provide an opportunity to catalyze research collaborations across various university departments and disciplines. It kicked off Monday at Fort Douglas, where more than 120 people gathered for the inaugural Air Quality Health and Society retreat. Doctors, engineers, economists, public policy experts and clean-air activists participated in a diverse discussion on the science behind air pollution as well as the effect of pollution on health and the economy.
The retreat was a starting point for the Center to continue its research in coming years
by bringing together researchers to examine air pollution.
Kerry Kelly is a research associate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah.