Environmental activist Tom Steyer stands in front of the Syncrude tar sands facility in Alberta, Canada.
CREDIT: NEXTGEN CLIMATE ACTION
Chemical air pollution surrounding the primary areas where tar sands oil is mined and processed in Canada is on the rise, according to new data released by the Alberta government.
The 2012 data released Thursday showed that levels of both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide — chemicals that help cause acid rain, smog, and myriad health problems — haverisen to levels two and three on a government-set scale of four at several monitoring sites between Fort McMurray and Fort McKay. Level four is the highest limit allowed to protect human health, but the report said levels two and three are still cause for concern and that there should be further investigation into the source of pollution. Nitrogen dioxide is also a greenhouse gas.