Soot’s Us

SOOT’S US Some public-health and environmental groups are complaining that Houston isn’t getting enough respect for the particularly fine quality of the air here, and are asking the EPA to give this city the recognition it deserves: “Houston’s concentrations of soot — a piercing mix of airborne matter from diesel exhaust, industrial flares and road grit, among other sources — exceeded the EPA’s yearly standards from 2005 to 2007, according to the most recent federal data available. . . . ‘Residents of Houston are breathing unhealthy levels of soot pollution,’ [the NRDC’s John] Walke said in an interview this week. . . . Soot has been a special concern near the Houston Ship Channel, which is home to heavy industry and a busy port. It’s the only place in Texas where the particulate-matter levels exceed the annual standard.” [Houston Chronicle]