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Letter: Let's call it red Republican air
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If terrorists were caught poisoning our air, wouldn't we take them out ASAP?

But terrorists aren't responsible. The inversion lets us see what gets dumped into our atmosphere all the time, for us and our children to re-breathe.

Dr. Brian Moench and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment have identified these poisons: the worst are particles (PM 2.5) — small enough to enter cells — containing organics, heavy metals and oxidants which seriously harm children's brains and endocrine systems. Elders get more heart attacks and strokes.

The more you learn the specifics, the more you worry. Vehicles and heavy industries — refining, mining, smelting, waste burning, power generation — dump tons yearly.

We live in a red (Republican dominated) state: Republicans are ideologically incapable of acting to curb our poisoning:

1) Firm government action to combat a public health emergency? Anathema! Simply deny/ignore inconvenient facts.

2) Mandate emission control upgrades for all vehicles? Unwarranted government interference, no payoff for big business.

3) Force heavy industry to clean up its act? In your dreams: Free market! Competitiveness! Growth!

Let's face it: red state equals toxic red air. Let's call it red Republican air.

John Prehn

Salt Lake City

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