Fragranced products to blame for smog as much as cars, study finds

By Peter Fimrite : sfchronicle – excerpt

In another blow to vanity, a new study finds that shampoos, moisturizers, colognes and other household products people use every day cause just as much smog as the exhaust spewing out of car and truck engines on the streets and highways.

The study, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UC Davis, establishes a stronger link than ever before between air pollution and the lotions, perfumes, hair sprays, and other grooming and cleaning products that Bay Area residents use every day…

Cappa and his colleagues said the amount of petroleum in fuel is far greater — about 15 times more by weight — than lotions, paints and other household products. But the fuels used in cars are much cleaner than they used to be, meaning fewer smog-producing pollutants waft into the air in the exhaust.

“When we use these other products, a lot more of the volatile organic compounds end up in the atmosphere,” Cappa said. “In the case of perfumes, the purpose is to create odors, so when you put it on your body, the molecules are also in the room around you. And what’s inside gets outside. It doesn’t really go away.”… (more)

I am posting this for my friends who are particularly sensitive to anything scented. Cigarettes were early targets but, now scientists are reporting problems with many household products. Construction dust and cleaning supplies are huge contributors to the particulate matter in the air.

Brief Reveals Flaws with San Francisco’s Transportation Task Force Report

by Wendell Cox : pacificresearch – excerpt

Today PRI released a brief reviewing San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Transportation Task Force Report: 2030. The brief is a supplement to PRI’s earlier study “Plan Bay Area Evaluation” (June 2013), which critiqued the plan developed by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).  Both the brief and the study were authored by Wendell Cox, a PRI fellow and consultant on public policy, planning, and transportation issues.

Mr. Cox writes, “Even if all of the required funding recommended by the Task Force Report is obtained, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is unlikely to be able to deliver on the promises of the 2030 transportation plan.”

Mr. Cox believes that the plan gives little or no attention to the potential for increasing truck and automobile congestion on the city’s streets: “Street improvement programs will give greater priority to transit, cycling, and walking, and will have a necessary effect of slowing general vehicle travel. Similarly, the implementation of additional exclusive bus lanes and taking of capacity from streets for cycle lanes would likely have the same effect. Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

In addition, Mr. Cox believes that escalating costs will also present difficulties:

1)    Most of the costs of the 2030 transportation plan are for capital improvements.  In the public sector, capital improvements are inherently susceptible to substantial cost overruns.

2)    The Task Force Report indicates little or no commitment to cost effectiveness.  Muni’s costs over the last 15 years have risen far more than inflation.  This occurs because there is no competitive influence to keep transit costs under control.

Mr. Cox writes that it seems unlikely that the city would be able to deliver on the expensive capital projects in the 2030 plan without significant strategies to ensure that projects stay on budget.  He suggest that the plan might be accomplished through “design-build” contracts with winning bidders that obligate them to deliver the finished projects within budget, making up for the additional expenses from their own resources.  He adds that there are public policy solutions that can bring transit costs under control, which make it possible to maximize service levels for the public and keep fares low — for example, competitive contracts that involve the use of private and public companies to operate individual routes of the transit system for the lowest cost.

Download full report

To learn more about “Evaluation Plan Bay Area: Transportation Task Force Report: 2030” or to arrange an interview with author Wendell Cox,, please contact Rowena Itchon (ritchon@pacificresearch.org) or Laura Dannerbeck (dannerbeckconsulting@gmail.com) at the Pacific Research Institute… (more)

So we aren’t all crazy when we claim that ”

Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

The experts agree with us.