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Google Street View to Expand Mapping of Air Pollution
The program is a partnership with Aclima, a San Francisco company that maps air quality on a block-by-block scale.
The announcement comes a day after a report from the European Court of Auditors found that air pollution was the "biggest environmental risk to health in the European Union," causing about 400,000 premature deaths a year.
The Google and Aclima expansion builds on three years of research conducted in Los Angeles, San Francisco's Bay Area and California's Central Valley that produced one of the largest data sets on urban air pollution of its kind ever collected.
The Aclima sensors will measure carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter, according to Business Wire.
"As air pollution and climate emissions pose an urgent challenge to human and planetary health, partnering with Google to scale Aclima's environmental intelligence platform in Street View cars will activate awareness about local air quality in communities around the world where this information doesn't currently exist," Aclima CEO Davida Herzl said, as Business Wire reported.
The expansion will begin in Sydney, Mexico City and Houston, The Drive reported.
While the current expansion will not cover European cities, Google began another year-long partnership with London to map air pollution with two Street View cars and monitors built by UK company Air Monitors, TechCrunch reported in June.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made tackling air pollution one of his major goals, and the program was designed to generate more local data about air pollution to help direct policy, TechCrunch reported.
The EU Court of Auditors report found that Air Quality plans in the EU had fallen short of expected results and thought improper monitoring might be part of the problem.
"In recent decades, EU policies have contributed to emission reductions, but air quality has not improved at the same rate and there are still considerable impacts on public health," court member Janusz Wojciechowski said.
The report also found that some EU air quality standards were below World Health Organization guidelines.
The biggest killers were nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone and particulate matter.
Herzl told Fast Company he hoped the Aclima monitors could help cities gather better data to create better policies.
"[Cities] need to understand where that pollution is and who it's affecting, and then really be able to take action based on that data to understand if what we're doing is having an impact," Herzl told Fast Company. "Right now, there is no infrastructure for that."
A peer-reviewed study based on tests of the Aclima sensors in Oakland found that air pollution levels could differ by a factor of eight from one end of a street to another, making city-wide air quality monitors comparatively unhelpful to those particularly sensitive to air pollution, according to Fast Company.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.