major component of smog.
While we need ozone in the upper atmosphere to protect us against
ultraviolet radiation from the sun, ozone in the air that we breathe is
not good for us. Ozone causes shortness of breath, kills lung cells and
is suspected of causing premature aging of the lungs. In fact, a study by
Kaiser Permanente showed that when ozone levels go up, hospitalizations
for respiratory and cardiac ailments also rise. It took an ozone increase
of only 10 parts per billion to increase the number of hospitalizations.
I know a lot of people believe that environmental regulation is
needless government interference with business, but there's another
perspective. Pollution affects our health, especially the health of our
children and our elderly. That's why we're happy we have the Air Quality
Management District to help protect us.
The district is concerned with emissions from paints, stains and
sealers. Rules enacted by the management district in May 1999 will
substantially cut future levels of the volatile organic compounds that
are permitted in various paint products. These rules will be phased in
over a seven-year period, assuming the chemists in the paint industry are
able to develop adequate paints to meet the new standards.
The new regulations deal mainly with primers and sealers, industrial
paint and household quick-dry enamels and glossy paints such as the ones
used on our woodwork and in our bathrooms and kitchens. Stains for the
deck and various coatings for our floors and roofs will also be affected.
The reformulations that are mandated will eliminate an estimated 22
tons of volatile organic compounds a day. This is slightly more than 2%
of the total load of hydrocarbon compounds that are spewed into our air
by all sources, including cars and industry.
Paint of all types releases 58 tons of these compounds into the air
daily in the greater LA basin. This is the same amount that is produced
by 1.8 million cars. The new rules are designed to lower this by about