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David Danelski

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A new study of kids in the Los Angeles basin found that as air quality “improved dramatically” in recent years, so did the capacity of children's lungs. The study's attributes the gains to more stringent emissions standards. But can the air quality gains continue amid a resurgent economy?

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Looking for fresh story ideas? We hope these accounts of how reporters across the country got the stories, sources and subjects give you fodder for covering your own communities in a new way.

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We already knew about air pollution's link to asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, and shorter lives. But few of us have given much thought to its effect on the brain. Research in one of the most polluted places -- Mexico City -- sheds light on what might be happening in Inland Southern California.

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Truck driver Jose Rodriguez can attest that the flow of goods through the Inland Empire region provides job opportunities. He also knows that cutting air pollution from trucks is a priority — and, in some cases, a hardship.

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What is the latest science telling us about the potential health consequences of breathing contaminated air?

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Children breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. They also spend more time outside and are more physically active, which further increases their exposure to air pollution.

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The federal Clean Air Act of 1970 prompted changes that led to dramatic air quality improvements, but some Inland communities still don’t meet standards.

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Southern California’s The Press-Enterprise newspaper recently published an extensively reported, in-depth look at air pollution in the Inland Empire and invited community members to a discussion about ways to improve the situation.

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Between the moment when a microscopic piece of soot flies out of a tailpipe or smokestack and enters a person’s lungs, it undergoes an array of complex chemical reactions. It essentially becomes an airborne vessel that can carry hundreds of varieties of toxic compounds.

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The Golden State's air quality has improved dramatically since the 1970s, but still, on more than 100 days a year, Southern California is failing to meet clean air standards. Children appear to suffer the most with pollution laying the groundwork for multiple health problems.

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