Mapping Los Angeles’s Better But Still Terrible Air Quality

Source: Curbed Los Angeles

Friday, October 3, 2014, by Bianca Barragan

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 2.09.32 PM.png
Though the persistent brown halo around Downtown might suggest otherwise, the amount of cancer-causing toxins in the Los Angeles basin air has fallen 65 percent since 2005, says a new report out from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Don’t breathe too deeply yet. Despite the improvement, “The levels still occurring here in Southern California are too high and need to be further reduced,” an executive officer of the SCAQMD tells the Daily News.
The existing levels of pollution increase the cancer risk for 418 out of every million people in the basin, but that’s a significant drop from 2005, when it threatened 1,194 out of every million people.
Ninety percent of the contaminants we breathe in the LA basin (a section of SoCal that includes Riverside, Orange, LA, and San Bernardino Counties) come from emissions from trucks, ships, trains, and planes; in fact, air quality improved a lot during the recession because there was a lot less transport and construction going on. Considering the sources, it makes sense that port-adjacent areas like Long Beach, San Pedro, and Wilmington would have the worst air, which they do. But there’s even a silver lining there: port areas also saw the greatest reductions, the LA Times points out, mostly because of state and local regulations specifically aimed at cleaning up the air, like forcing enormous ships to turn off their engines and “plug into shore power” instead of just running their engines and burping crap into the air.
This is the fourth study like this that the SCAQMD has done since 1987, when it began monitoring the LA basin’s air.

· New AQMD study finds much lower air pollution levels across Los Angeles County [LADN] · Cancer risk from air pollution drops in Southern California [LAT] · Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study in the South Coast Air Basin [SCAQMD] ·Pollutant Study Shows Mar Vista’s Air Worse Than Downtown’s [Curbed LA]