Focus on Air Quality

Submitted by: Living Oceans Society

The evidence:

Dr. Isobel J. Simpson, University of California, has worked in the Nobel Prize winning Rowland/Black group in the department of chemistry for the last 18 years. Her expertise focuses on the world’s major atmospheric environments. This report reviews the application with reference to air quality. Dr. Simpson found that most of the material presented in the application was inadequate to draw clear conclusions about overall air quality. In addition, she found that background or baseline concentrations of air contaminants used in the report frequently were unrealistically high–for instance, for toluene and sulphur dioxide, the background concentrations were comparable to cities like Hong Kong and Mexico City. This makes the contribution of project emissions appear relatively smaller compared to background than it actually is. Benzene concentrations, she found, are a concern: they exceed air quality guidelines and have the potential to cause severe human health impacts.