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U.S. Firms, Government To Study Air Pollution

Corporations including Ford Motor Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. have joined the U.S. government to form the National Environmental Respiratory Center (NERC). Located at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, the air pollution research program will concentrate on how the large number of different particles, gases, and vapors in the air work together to affect public health. NERC industry partners also include the American Trucking Assn., California Trucking Assn., heavy engine manufacturers such as Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co., and the Chemical Manufacturers Assn. Air pollution is an ever-changing mixture of many contaminants from many natural and manmade sources, despite the fact that air pollution research, debates, and regulations have historically focused on one pollutant or source at a time. "Nobody ever breathed only one pollutant at a time, and it's a good bet that the health affects associated with dirty air can never really be understood by studying one pollutant at a time," says Joe Mauderly, NERC director and air pollution scientist. The new alliance will first study the impact of engine and power plant emissions, wood and tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, and road dust.

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