Currently — July 1st, 2022

The weather, currently.

The biggest spike of air pollution every year in the United States is right around the corner — the July 4 holiday.

Independence Day fireworks displays, from backyards to the Brooklyn Bridge, produce air pollution that’s about 42 percent higher than normal, according to a recent study in the journal Atmospheric Environment. And fireworks smoke isn’t just “regular” smoke, it contains traces of heavy metals that give fireworks their distinctive colors. The most dangerous type of air pollution, PM2.5, can be up to 8-10x higher than normal in the hours during and after a large fireworks show. This kind of pollution can aggravate lung ailments, like asthma, and prolonged exposure can even cause stroke or heart attack.

The good news is that N95 (or equivalent) masks do a good job of filtering out PM2.5, and they are relatively easy to find and use these days. It’s worth bringing a few extra to your July 4 celebrations this year.

-Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

We have a piece up today from our founder, Eric Holthaus, on the Supreme Court’s horrifying 6-3 decision:

“​​In a stunningly wide-ranging ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States has voted to overturn a cornerstone of the Clean Air Act, putting environmental regulation at risk and accelerating the climate emergency. The vote was 6-3,” Holthaus writes.

“‘Today, the court strips the EPA of the power Congress gave it to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time,’ [dissenting Justice] Kagan wrote. ‘I cannot think of many things more frightening.’”

Click here to read the full piece!