Deodorants, as well as hair spray, car wax and windshield washer fluid, contain small amounts of volatile organic compounds that contribute to making ozone, an ingredient in urban smog.
So the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency put limits on the amount of those compounds in consumer products sold in the state.
It’s unclear whether Front Range residents might someday be asked to use retooled deodorant – but the region must come up with a new plan to reduce rising levels of ozone pollution.
On July 20, Denver violated the health-based standard for ozone and probably pushed the region into "noncompliance" with federal clear-air rules.
Ozone aggravates respiratory problems for the young, elderly and people who are already ill.
Citing concern about ozone’s effect on public health, Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday urged local air-policy makers to come up with a plan before the September 2008 deadline.
The Regional Air Quality Council, which oversees air-policy planning for metro Denver, will kick off planning on Thursday. States already struggling with ozone violations – such as Missouri and Ohio – have come up with an array of inventive ways to curb pollution.
In Ohio, fiddling with deodorant didn’t create much controversy or leave Ohioans reeking.
"We knew the manufacturing industry was already moving in that direction, so it was a cost-effective strategy for us to pursue," said Heidi Griesmer, a spokeswoman for Ohio’s environmental agency.
In Dallas, cars, trucks and buses contribute about 70 percent of the ozone- forming air pollution. The city’s plan to combat ozone targets those sources and places less emphasis on pollution that comes from smokestack industries.
Like Denver, the Texas city has a vehicle emission inspection program and has recently come up with a way to help low-income residents repair or retire smoke-belching cars.
Of the $39.50 fee Dallas residents pay to have their cars inspected, $6 goes to help poor drivers in a nine-county area repair their cars.
Local air-quality planners have an agreement with a local phone provider so drivers can use a toll-free number to report smoking clunkers on the road.
"Until you solve the problems these older cars pose, you’re not going to come into compliance," said Chris Klaus, senior air program manager for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
The rapidly expanding city is also beginning to discuss ways to combat air pollution from construction activity.
Klaus said local leaders are thinking about creating a point system that would benefit companies that use clean technology when contracts are bid.
City leaders are discussing a similar reward system for local governments with clean-car fleets.
"It’s sort of a ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours’ approach," Klaus said. "We’ve found that works well here."
St. Louis’ plan for combatting ozone has called for targeting major industrial sources of pollution that prior to 1990 had gone largely uncontrolled.
Among those companies are lithograph printing facilities, a bakery, wood furniture manufacturers and aerospace companies.
Colorado should take an approach similar to that of St. Louis, focusing on large industrial sources that emit volatile organic compounds, said Jeremy Nichols, director of Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action.
"So far, power plants are not required to do anything to keep smog-forming pollution in check," Nichols said. "Plants on the East Coast have cut emissions, and it’s time for us to catch up with the rest of the country."
The Denver area already has controls in place that include catching pollution-belching cars, placing emission controls on oil and gas equipment, and using reformulated gasoline.
Breaking the threshold
Over the past three summers, however, ozone levels have continued to rise, particularly in the western suburbs and near Fort Collins.
The 11-county Front Range area – which includes metropolitan Denver, Larimer, Weld, Morgan and Elbert counties – recorded an ozone level of 88 parts per billion at the former Rocky Flats plant on July 20.
The health standard is 80 parts per billion.
Officials with the state health department say work has begun on sketching a new pollution-control plan.
"What will the plan ultimately look like?" said Martha Rudolph, the department’s director of environmental programs. "I’m not sure, but it’s going to be tricky given what we’ve already done."
Via: Denver Post