California smog research pioneer Pitts dies at 93

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Updated: 6/19 6:36 pm

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — James Pitts, a pioneering smog researcher whose work spurred California's ground-breaking clean-air regulations, has died. He was 93.

His wife, UC Irvine professor Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, tells the university that Pitts died in his sleep Thursday at their Irvine home.

Pitts began researching air pollution in the 1950s at the University of California, Riverside. At the time, the causes and dangers of smog weren't well-understood.

Pitts helped create the Statewide Air Pollution Research Center and directed it for 18 years. His team built the first smog chamber to study photochemical smog.

It was visited by scientists and politicians from around the world.

Pitts joined his wife at UC Irvine in 1994.

Pitts co-authored nearly 400 scientific books and publications. He also served on panels at the California Air Resources Board.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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