Salt Lake Tribune
July 12, 2016
Scientists at Utah’s Division of Air Quality are zeroing in on a few key chemicals after a newly released study of toxic air pollutants found elevated levels of hazardous substances on the Wasatch Front.
The year-long effort, which looked at 86 of the more than 180 substances classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “hazardous air pollutants,” or air toxics, identified four areas of concern — airborne lead particles, particularly on the western side of the Salt Lake Valley; localized concentrations in Bountiful of a carcinogenic solvent known as methylene chloride; and concentrations of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, both probable carcinogens, across the Wasatch Front.
But the study also comes bearing good news: concentrations of benzene — a carcinogenic pollutant associated with leukemia, reproductive abnormalities, and blood disorders such as aplastic anemia — dropped nearly 70 percent between 2002 and 2016 in West Valley City. Bryce Bird, director of the DAQ, said emissions of benzene — primarily released by automobiles, gas stations and the combustion of other fossil fuels — have decreased as motor fuels have become cleaner.
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