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Dusty West raises air quality question

New, complicated chapter unfolding as problem grows

A dust storm engulfed Camelback Mountain in Phoenix in August. From off-road vehicle use to drought’s impact on plants, more dust appears to be up and moving, and scientists are worried. A dust storm engulfed Camelback Mountain in Phoenix in August. From off-road vehicle use to drought’s impact on plants, more dust appears to be up and moving, and scientists are worried. (pat shannahan/arizona republic via AP)
By Kirk Johnson
New York Times / December 11, 2011
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The question of how clean the air is in the American West has never been an easy one to answer. And now scientists say it is getting harder, with implications that ripple out in surprising ways, from the kitchen faucets of Los Angeles to public health clinics in canyon-land Utah to the economics of tourism. It is at least partly about dust, something that has been entwined with Western life for a long time, and now appears to be getting worse.

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