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Worried You’re Breathing Polluted Air? There’s An App For That.

Wondering just what it is you’re inhaling? A new app should have you breathing a little easier.

image via (cc) flickr user infinitewilderness

We have smartphone apps to tell us where our friends are checking in for drinks, the best restaurant within walking distance, and even the quickest route to the nearest bathroom. But did you ever expect you’d be checking your phone to figure out the best place to take a deep breath? That’s exactly what entrepreneur Ziv Lautman would like you to do. Lautman is the co-creator of BreezoMeter, an app that tracks and displays real-time air quality reports, allowing users to see not only the cleanliness of what they’re breathing in, but also where in their city they can find cleaner, fresher air.

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Car Emissions in Los Angeles Are Down 98 Percent from 1960s Levels

New data on California's historical car emissions shows just how important it is to fight for clean transportation.

The State of California was the first place in the world to mandate tailpipes on cars. That was back in 1966. The Federal government wouldn't follow suit for another two years. We've come a long way from the pre-catalytic converter, fuel guzzling engines of the Mad Men days.

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Glowing Pollution Sensor Equipped Kites Replace Beijing's Stars

A scrappy citizen-science experiment to spark conversation (and action) around air quality.

Urban air quality in China has been miserable for years, but the issue really came to the foreground in June when China’s vice minister for environmental protection put foreign embassies on blast for publishing national air pollution data online. The U.S. Embassy, whose hourly Twitter updates on Beijing's air quality have helped spread awareness of the dangers of pollution among the Chinese public, was the likely target of the criticism.

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It Works: Taking Cars Out of Times Square Really Improved the Air

Breathe easy, New York. With fewer cars in Times Square the air there now has about half the pollution it did before.


People who advocate reducing the number of cars in urban centers often cite better air quality as a benefit. But that can sound suspect. How big a difference can the absence of a few cars really make?

Well, now we have numbers. For New York, at least. Back in 2009 Mayor Bloomberg prohibited vehicle traffic on Broadway between 42nd Street and 47th Street in Times Square to create a pedestrian plaza (video here). Now, the city's most recent Community Air Survey found that, "After the conversion to a pedestrian plaza, NO pollution levels in Times Square went down by 63 percent while, NO2 levels went down by 41 percent." Unlike N2O, which makes you laugh at Phish shows, NO2, or nitrogen dioxide, destroys your lungs and may cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Nitric oxide (NO) isn't good for you either.

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The Dire Pollution Predictions that Missed and the Case for Regulation

Forty years ago, around the time of the first Earth day, just before sweeping regulations like the Clean Air Act of 1970 took effect, a number of...

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