Ed Driscoll

Global Warming: Is There Nothing It Can't Do?

Primatene Mist, which when I was a kid with asthma was a lifesaver, is being outlawed by the FDA because its aerosol delivery system is bad for the environment, Gaia, and other living things:

The only over-the-counter asthma inhaler sold in the United States will no longer be available next year as part of an international agreement to stop the use of substances that damage the environment.

Primatene Mist (epinephrine) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the temporary relief of occasional symptoms of mild asthma. FDA urges those who use Primatene Mist to see a health care professional soon to switch to another asthma medicine.

Primatene Mist inhalers are being discontinued because they use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant (spray) to move the medicine out of the inhaler so patients can breathe the medicine into their lungs.

But why, when aerosols are reducing global warming?

A recent increase in the abundance of particles high in the atmosphere has offset about a third of the current climate warming influence of carbon dioxide (CO2) change during the past decade. The findings have been published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a new study in the online edition of Science.

In the stratosphere, miles above Earth’s surface, small, airborne particles reflect sunlight back into space, which leads to a cooling influence at the ground. These particles are also called “aerosols,” and the new paper explores their recent climate effects — the reasons behind their increase remain the subject of ongoing research.

I know, it’s not aerosol-aerosols, as Whoopie would say, but still. And I wonder how people who rely on Primatene as an emergency inhaler will feel about it being removed from store shelves? (Usually across from the aisle where the store sold 100-watt bulbs.)