By Sara Harris, Hear in the City/Newsdesk.org
The Coalition for Clean Air houses a wealth of information about quality in California. Here are some surprising assertions I encountered about Los Angeles recently on their site:
- By the age of two months, Los Angeles-area infants have already inhaled enough toxic pollutants to reach the EPA lifetime limit for cancer risk.
- 90% of Californians live in areas that fail to meet state and federal air quality standards.
- Breathing air in Southern California can reduce one's life expectancy by one to two years.
- California is the fifth-largest producer of global warming emissions in the world.
Surely this is all true most U.S. cities -- or is it? Los Angeles has some of the strictest emissions standards in the country. Yet here is no escaping air pollution. Some of us live in areas with worse air quality than others -- you can check out your own local air-quality index on the federally funded Airnow.gov website -- but nearly all of us living in Los Angeles are breathing sub-standard air.
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Newsdesk.org's award-winning, crowd-funded Toxic Tour project comes to Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco. We're working with local news producers in each city to help develop and fund their work, and put neglected public-health issues "on the map." In the process we hope to create a new model for independent journalism.