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pollution

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Our air in Los Angeles is some of the worst in the country. But there is plenty you can do to help clear things up.

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Wildfires are a yearly occurrence in the Sierra Nevada. Low fuel moisture, high temperatures and human impacts in the wildland-urban interface combine into the ideal conditions for fast-moving fires. At the same time, ozone pollution levels regularly approach unhealthy levels. The area itself does not generate the pollution, but prevailing winds push pollution out of the Bay area and Sacramento corridor against the foothills and peaks of the region. U.S. EPA and the American Lung Association have consistently ranked Nevada County among the dozen most ozone-polluted counties in the nation.

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Doctors aren't sure why girls are hitting puberty earlier, the link between brain damage and freeway pollution, and more from our Daily Briefing.

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Contaminated waters mean exposure to 42 chemicals for people who consume fish from the Duwamish River, despite posted warnings. For those who depend on the river as a primary food source, this frightening possibility is not enough of a deterrent.

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Environmental justice is an old mandate getting a new life under Lisa Jackson, the first African-American head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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This story explores how freeways may cause children in certain Utah neighborhoods to be hospitalized more often. It is a sidebar to the third part of her series on health disparities in Salt Lake City.

Picture of Christina Elston

What is air pollution doing to our kids? If you live in L.A. County, and especially if you’ve driven back to the Los Angeles basin from somewhere else, you’ve seen it. A steely brown haze hangs over us for much of the year. We live in the smoggiest region in the United States (according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District), but for those raising children here it may not be top of mind. In some parts of the county, moms claw their way onto waiting lists for the “right” preschool while they are still pregnant. Concerns about finding the right neighborhood, the right school, about keeping kids away from gangs and drugs or getting them to turn off the Xbox and do some homework tend to take center stage. The air we breathe gets plenty of media coverage, but we tend to consider it more of an inconvenience than an emergency.

Yet at every stage of children’s lives – from their time in the womb until they’re ready to leave the nest – the pollution in the air impacts their health. 2010 California Health Journalism Fellow Christina Elston reports.

Picture of John  Sepulvado

The central California community of Kettleman City sits next to one of the largest toxic landfills in the country. Some residents think landfill toxins are to blame for air, water, and health problems, including a cluster of birth defects.

Picture of John  Sepulvado

Kettleman City has a toxic PCB dump problem, or at least so says the U.S. Enivornmental Protection Agency. From the release:

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In my first few blogs, I've explained some of the environmental issues facing the city of Long Beach both today and in the long-term. The main point of concern is often pollution caused by operations at the Port of Long Beach. But another concern, perhaps just as dangerous to the community in terms of air pollution, are the nearby railyard facilities where cargo trains move in and out, all day and every day.

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Get the latest updates from top experts and a leading journalist tracking the story, as well as crucial context and insights for reporting responsibly on this fast-moving public health threat in our next webinar on Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. Sign-up here!

Got a great idea for a reporting project on vulnerable families or health disparities?  We'll help fund it, and provide you with five days of all-expenses-paid training at USC in July, plus six months of mentoring. Click here for more information.

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