NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 20, 2005

Air pollution from Asia is efficiently drifting across the Pacific Ocean and making its way to the United States, according to a recent Harvard University study, undermining any strict pollution standards imposed by state or federal governments.

According Daniel J. Jacob, Robert Talbot and other researchers, air pollution drifting from one continent to another is no surprise, but what is remarkable is that pollution from Asia has reached as far as the eastern coast of the United States.

Such pollution could impede efforts in the United States to clean up its own air. For example:

  • Asian air pollution would affect national parks where the government has set clean air goals, such as Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) goal of obtaining visibility in all national parks by the year 2064 may be unachievable due to pollution from Asia.
  • Asian air pollution may be responsible for some of the air pollution in northeastern United States, which have often blamed Midwestern states' industries for their pollution problems.

While state and federal air quality standards might seem noble, it is important to recognize that such efforts could potentially be defeated by pollution from other continents.

Source: James A. Hoare, "Asian Pollution Threatens States' Clean Air Goals," Heartland Institute, October 2004.


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