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KUER News and RadioWest are bringing you a series of stories and conversations on Utah's air. It's easy to look at the haze on a red air quality day and say that something needs to be done about it. But what? We'll be talking about the roles that individuals, industry and government can play in cleaning up Utah's air quality. We'll also look at what the costs may to be to our economy and our health if we don't.

Utah Looks in Bathroom Cupboards to Reduce Air Pollution

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Most strategies to reduce air pollution in northern Utah focus on emissions from cars and industry, but the state’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is targeting another source of pollution – the products in our bathroom cupboards, cleaning closets, and garage shelves.  The DAQ board will consider a new rule Wednesday that would regulate consumer products containing volatile organic compounds. 

It might not seem like changing deodorant could have much of an impact on Utah’s air pollution problem, but DAQ Director Bryce Bird thinks it could make a dent. 

“From an individual or household basis, it’s very small, but once you get several million people using these products it does add up,” said Bird, “We’re looking at about 8000 tons per year of emissions.”

The proposed rule would limit the vapors and fumes that come from personal care and cleaning products, as well as car paints and degreasing agents.  Bird said these types of products account for about 2 to 3 percent of the emissions that pollute Utah’s air.

“This is just one of the strategies that the Air Quality Board is looking at, but that combined with a number of other strategies could certainly go a long way at addressing our problem,” said Bird.   

If the Division of Air Quality board approves of the new rule, it will be open for public comment in March.  The rule is part of a larger plan to bring Utah’s air quality into federal compliance.  The final plan is expected to be submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency this summer.

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Copyright 2013 KUER 90.1

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Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Boston.com. Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ