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Partnering with a Watchdog, or Becoming One

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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.

If you are having respiratory or vision problems and you live in Southern California, the one thing to come to grips with is that things will not get better for us unless we unite and commit to doing something about it!

There are many recognized organizations out there currently working on our behalf, or you can start your own within your community, and in my next articles I will be featuring several of them. In the meantime, take a moment to reflect what we breathe every day.

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