Researchers at the Primate Research Center in Davis examined three-year-old rhesus monkeys that had been exposed as newborns to high levels of air pollution caused by wildfires burning around Northern California in 2008. The study shows that the monkeys, who were living outdoors at the time of the fires, were less able to fight off infectious diseases than animals born after the fires.
Lung development in rhesus monkeys and humans is very similar. The study is the first to show that particulate matter has a direct impact on primate immune system function.
The research suggests that exposure to particulates early in life could result in decreased lung capacity and lowered immunity persisting into adulthood.
An estimated 60,000 people will take part in California's biggest one day volunteer effort on Sept. 20, and anyone can participate.
El Niño is not expected to end the California drought but ‘atmospheric rivers’ might help.
Forecasters say the chances are diminishing that El Niño will bring rain to California.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District's shade tree program has been around for 25 years. In spite of the drought, the utility says it will continue to fund the program for at least another two years because of the benefits trees provide.
Environmental groups say the recent California Legislative session was a big win for coastal protection, clean water among other issues.