April 9, 2012 – Kern County
According to data and charts (below) recently released by the California Air Resources Board, Ammonium Nitrate and Ammonium Sulphate make up the majority of the fine particulates in our horrible wintertime air. This data averages the composition of PM 2.5 on approximately the twenty worst days of the years 2008-2010. This was done in four metropolitan areas of Modesto, Fresno, Visalia, and Bakersfield. Moving south through the valley and the levels of these compounds increase.
In light of this data, the Air Board needs to explain their strategy of not regulating ammonia emissions in the southern half of the valley. A current plan is being made in the SJV to meet stricter health standards for PM 2.5 and all the Air Board can say is ammonium nitrate is not very dangerous so its reduction will not be a priority in our current planning.
The direct harm of ammonium nitrate has already been demonstrated in the South Coast Air Basin. A recent study showed the direct effect of increased preterm births from this compound. Kern County has the highest ammonium nitrate levels in the USA and, not coincidentally, the highest rate of preterm births of any county in California. also see Ammonia and the Air Board