What you can do for clean air

Did you know that one of Oregon’s biggest air pollution problems is particles too small to see? What you can’t see might actually harm you.

First: take a moment to celebrate the next clear, bright day. Oregon has a lot to be proud of when it comes to cleaning up our air. We have far less smog, soot and smoke than we did 50 years ago.

But unless we keep making progress, we will continue to lose lives and livelihoods to pollution we might not even see—and definitely don’t need. Burning diesel, wood and other fuel creates particles so small that they can bypass our body’s protections and go deep into the lungs and blood stream. Hear more from a health specialist.

The good news: there are better, cleaner solutions to Oregon’s biggest air quality problems:

Diesel: It’s time to retire old dirty heavy-duty diesel engines. Vastly cleaner engines and fuels are out there. Oregon Environmental Council is working to put cleaner engines in place.

  • Wood smoke: Today’s wood burning stoves and home heating alternatives are more efficient and cleaner-burning than old stoves. We are helping find ways to get cleaner heat into Oregon homes.
  • Air toxics: For too long, we’ve ignored toxic air pollution from industry; Oregon is now working on a program to understand how these pollutants harm health and to hold polluters accountable. We are working with partners to make sure the rules truly protect human health.
Oregon Environmental Council works on policies to put health first—but we can’t do it without Oregonians like you. Your voice is important: if you are not already receiving our action alerts, consider signing up today!
Whatever you can do to reduce pollution from transportation and wood burning will make a difference to our state. But there are other things to you can do to protect your own health—and the health of your neighbors—from sources of air pollution that don’t come out of a chimney or tailpipe. Household products can release air pollution that takes a serious toll on our health.
A recent study in Los Angeles showed that consumer and industrial products are contributing to  a different kind of urban air pollution as much—or even more—than gas and diesel. These volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is commonly found in paint, glue, solvents, perfumes and other household products used for cleaning and maintenance. And because indoor air pollution is typically worse than outdoors, these products may be causing pollution where people tend to spend most of their time. Even when paints and solvents are in sealed containers, they may be releasing VOCs into the air. And even long after the smell of fresh paint is gone, exposure to VOCs may continue. So: what can you do?
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