SciCombinator

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Concept: Los Angeles

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China is the world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic air pollutants, and measurable amounts of Chinese pollution are transported via the atmosphere to other countries, including the United States. However, a large fraction of Chinese emissions is due to manufacture of goods for foreign consumption. Here, we analyze the impacts of trade-related Chinese air pollutant emissions on the global atmospheric environment, linking an economic-emission analysis and atmospheric chemical transport modeling. We find that in 2006, 36% of anthropogenic sulfur dioxide, 27% of nitrogen oxides, 22% of carbon monoxide, and 17% of black carbon emitted in China were associated with production of goods for export. For each of these pollutants, about 21% of export-related Chinese emissions were attributed to China-to-US export. Atmospheric modeling shows that transport of the export-related Chinese pollution contributed 3-10% of annual mean surface sulfate concentrations and 0.5-1.5% of ozone over the western United States in 2006. This Chinese pollution also resulted in one extra day or more of noncompliance with the US ozone standard in 2006 over the Los Angeles area and many regions in the eastern United States. On a daily basis, the export-related Chinese pollution contributed, at a maximum, 12-24% of sulfate concentrations over the western United States. As the United States outsourced manufacturing to China, sulfate pollution in 2006 increased in the western United States but decreased in the eastern United States, reflecting the competing effect between enhanced transport of Chinese pollution and reduced US emissions. Our findings are relevant to international efforts to reduce transboundary air pollution.

Concepts: Oxygen, United States, Pollution, Atmosphere, Smog, Air pollution, Los Angeles, Global warming

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Policymakers around the world are turning to license-plate based driving restrictions in an effort to address urban air pollution. The format differs across cities, but most programs restrict driving once or twice a week during weekdays. This paper focuses on Mexico City, home to one of the oldest and best-known driving restriction policies. For almost two decades Mexico City’s driving restrictions applied during weekdays only. This changed recently, however, when the program was expanded to include Saturdays. This paper uses hourly data from pollution monitoring stations to measure the effect of the Saturday expansion on air quality. Overall, there is little evidence that the program expansion improved air quality. Across eight major pollutants, the program expansion had virtually no discernible effect on pollution levels. These disappointing results stand in sharp contrast to estimates made before the expansion which predicted a 15%+ decrease in vehicle emissions on Saturdays. To understand why the program has been less effective than expected, the paper then turns to evidence from subway, bus, and light rail ridership, finding no evidence that the expansion was successful in getting drivers to switch to lower-emitting forms of transportation.

Concepts: Pollution, Smog, National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Air pollution, Los Angeles, Cruise ship pollution, Chicago, Air Quality Index

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Estimates of the health impacts of air pollution are needed to make informed air quality management decisions at both the national and local levels. Using design values of ambient pollution concentrations from 2011-2013 as a baseline, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the Marron Institute of Urban Management estimated excess morbidity and mortality in the United States attributable to exposure to ambient ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at levels above the American Thoracic Society-recommended standards. Within the subset of counties with valid design values for each pollutant, 14% had PM2.5 concentrations greater than the ATS recommendation, whereas 91% had O3 concentrations greater than the ATS recommendation. Approximately 9,320 excess deaths (69% from O3; 31% from PM2.5), 21,400 excess morbidities (74% from O3; 26% from PM2.5), and 19,300,000 adversely impacted days (88% from O3; 12% from PM2.5) in the United States each year are attributable to pollution exceeding the ATS-recommended standards. California alone is responsible for 37% of the total estimated health impacts, and the next three states (Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio) together contributed to 20% of the total estimates. City-specific health estimates are provided in this report and through an accompanying online tool to help inform air quality management decisions made at the local level. Riverside and Los Angeles, California have the most to gain by attaining the ATS recommendations for O3 and PM2.5. This report will be revised and updated regularly to help cities track their progress.

Concepts: United States, U.S. state, Pollution, Particulate, Smog, Air pollution, Volcano, Los Angeles

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Exosphaeromaamplicauda (Stimpson, 1857) from the west coast of North America is reviewed and redescribed and revealed to be a group of closely related species. A neotype is designated and the species redescribed based on the neotype and topotypic specimens. Exosphaeromaamplicauda is known only from the coast of California, at Marin, Sonoma and San Mateo Counties. Exosphaeromaaphrodita (Boone, 1923), type locality La Jolla, California and previously considered nomen dubium is taken out of synonymy and re-validated. A further three species: Exosphaeromapaydenae sp. n., Exosphaeromarussellhansoni sp. n., and Exosphaeromapentcheffi sp. n. are described herein. Sphaeromaoctonctum Richardson, 1899 is placed into junior synonymy with Exosphaeromaamplicauda. A key to the Pacific West Coast Exosphaeroma is provided.

Concepts: United States, California, North America, Los Angeles, San Diego, Zoological nomenclature, San Francisco, Nomen dubium

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This paper presents race-specific breast cancer mortality rates and the corresponding rate ratios for the 50 largest U.S. cities for each of the 5-year intervals between 2005 and 2014.

Concepts: United States, California, Native Americans in the United States, Texas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia

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Extensive research has demonstrated a relationship between socioeconomic factors and health among older adults, yet fewer studies have explored this relationship with older immigrants. This study aims to examine the influence of employment and self-rated economic condition on the subjective well-being of older Korean immigrants in the United States. Data were drawn from a cross-sectional study of 205 older Korean immigrants, aged 65 to 90, in Los Angeles County. Hierarchical regression was employed to explore the independent and interactive effects of employment status and self-rated economic condition. The study found that employment and self-rated economic status were positively associated with subjective well-being. Also, the interaction between employment and self-rated economic status was significantly associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, such that the influence of self-rated economic condition was stronger for unemployed older Korean immigrants compared with those who were employed. This population-based study provides empirical evidence that employment and self-rated economic condition are directly associated with subjective well-being for older Korean immigrants.

Concepts: United States, Sociology, Economics, Jobless recovery, Korean language, Los Angeles, Unemployment, Socioeconomics

24

Ocular syphilis, a manifestation of Treponema pallidum infection, can cause a variety of ocular signs and symptoms, including eye redness, blurry vision, and vision loss. Although syphilis is nationally notifiable, ocular manifestations are not reportable to CDC. Syphilis rates have increased in the United States since 2000. After ocular syphilis clusters were reported in early 2015, CDC issued a clinical advisory (1) in April 2015 and published a description of the cases in October 2015 (2). Because of concerns about an increase in ocular syphilis, eight jurisdictions (California, excluding Los Angeles and San Francisco, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New York City, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington) reviewed syphilis surveillance and case investigation data from 2014, 2015, or both to ascertain syphilis cases with ocular manifestations. A total of 388 suspected ocular syphilis cases were identified, 157 in 2014 and 231 in 2015. Overall, among total syphilis surveillance cases in the jurisdictions evaluated, 0.53% in 2014 and 0.65% in 2015 indicated ocular symptoms. Five jurisdictions described an increase in suspected ocular syphilis cases in 2014 and 2015. The predominance of cases in men (93%), proportion of those who are men who have sex with men (MSM), and percentage who are HIV-positive (51%) are consistent with the epidemiology of syphilis in the United States. It is important for clinicians to be aware of potential visual complications related to syphilis infections. Prompt identification of potential ocular syphilis, ophthalmologic evaluation, and appropriate treatment are critical to prevent or manage visual symptoms and sequelae of ocular syphilis.

Concepts: United States, U.S. state, Ophthalmology, Syphilis, New York City, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Treponema pallidum

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A geographically isolated set of southern localities of the formerly monotypic goby genus Eucyclogobius is known to be reciprocally monophyletic and substantially divergent in mitochondrial sequence and nuclear microsatellite-based phylogenies relative to populations to the north along the California coast. To clarify taxonomic and conservation status, we conducted a suite of analyses on a comprehensive set of morphological counts and measures from across the range of Eucyclogobius and describe the southern populations as a new species, the Southern Tidewater Goby, Eucyclogobius kristinae, now separate from the Northern Tidewater Goby Eucyclogobius newberryi (Girard 1856). In addition to molecular distinction, adults of E. kristinae are diagnosed by: 1) loss of the anterior supratemporal lateral-line canals resulting in higher neuromast counts, 2) lower pectoral and branched caudal ray counts, and 3) sets of measurements identified via discriminant analysis. These differences suggest ecological distinction of the two species. Previous studies estimated lineage separation at 2-4 million years ago, and mitochondrial sequence divergence exceeds that of other recognized fish species. Fish from Santa Monica Artesian Springs (Los Angeles County) northward belong to E. newberryi; those from Aliso Creek (Orange County) southward constitute E. kristinae. The lagoonal habitat of Eucyclogobius has been diminished or degraded, leading to special conservation status at state and federal levels beginning in 1980. Habitat of the newly described species has been impacted by a range of anthropogenic activities, including the conversion of closing lagoons to open tidal systems in the name of restoration. In the last 30 years, E. kristinae has only been observed in nine intermittently occupied lagoonal systems in northern San Diego County; it currently persists in only three sites. Thus, the new species is in imminent danger of extinction and will require ongoing active management.

Concepts: Conservation biology, Species, California, Los Angeles, Orange County, California, Gobiidae, Los Angeles County, California, Tidewater goby