Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The pollution-plagued Salt Lake Valley is obscured by another red air day as they inversion continues on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. A weak storm predicted for Thursday could bring a little relief but is not expected to last.
Thursday public forum focuses on health effects of bad air
First Published Feb 27 2014 03:23 pm • Last Updated Feb 27 2014 09:02 pm

Among the many hotly debated issues regarding Utah’s air quality: Where does the pollution come from?

A group of physicians concerned about health effects of air pollution will take up the question in a public discussion Thursday starting at 7 p.m. at Salt Lake City Main Library auditorium.

At a glance

Public discussion about bad air

“Smoke and Mirrors: Fact Vs Fiction about Utah’s Air Pollution,” a public discussion about Utah’s air pollution problem, takes places starting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City. The discussion also will be broadcast live on KCPW 88.3/105.3 FM.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Views differ on which and how much of the emissions in the Wasatch Front’s inversion come from major industrial polluters, more widespread emitters such as commercial buildings and homes, and the exact role of millions of automobiles.

Differences of opinion are especially sharp over PM2.5, a fine particulate pollution that has emerged as a major target of recent study and policy-making.

Air-quality activists — including Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, which is sponsoring Thursday’s discussion— dispute numbers published by state regulators on the share of emissions linked to industries such as smelters and refineries. In one recent report, for example, state regulators attributed about 11 percent of Salt Lake County’s PM2.5 to industry.

Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said those numbers mislead the public by down-playing industry’s role while also glossing over effects of other toxic emissions, including health-damaging heavy metals.

Those pollutants, he said, ``are a major issue not getting media attention.’’

Officials with the Utah Division of Air Quality defend their analysis of sources of PM2.5 and other air pollutants, including heavy metals. Their numbers reflect deep analysis, DAQ officials say, and can vary widely depending on the region studied, the time of year and how pollutants are defined.

``It sounds like a simple question,’’ said Bryce Bird, director of Utah DAQ, ``but it’s a complex answer.’’

Regulators focus heavily on controlling industrial pollution, Bird said, but are also interested in changing public perceptions on the critical role of reducing emissions from car tailpipes, estimated as the source of half of emissions that make up PM2.5.

story continues below
story continues below

Entitled, "Smoke and Mirrors: Fact vs. Fiction about Utah’s Air Pollution," Thursday’s discussion is free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast live by KCPW, on the radio at 88.3 FM and 105.3 FM, and online at the station’s website, KCPW.org.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.