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Posted Tue Jan 13 2009: from University of Houston, via EurekAlert:
'Refinery dust' reveals clues about local polluters, UH-led research team says
Cloaked in the clouds of emissions and exhaust that hang over the city are clues that lead back to the polluting culprits, and a research team led by the University of Houston is hot on their trails.... "Fine particulate matter is tiny about 30 times smaller in diameter than a human hair but it carries in it a lot of information about where it came from," explains Chellam, a civil and environmental engineering professor at UH's Cullen College of Engineering.... "The fact that we can quantify very minute concentrations of the catalyst material in the ambient air, as well as many other metals, shows the strengths of the analytical procedures developed at UH," Fraser says. "This allows us to track emissions from a source to communities far downwind, where people may be unaware that they are being exposed to emissions from industrial refineries." Fraser said the team's goal is to advance the understanding of the science of air pollution so that more effective and efficient environmental regulations can be written.
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