ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: ‘First of its Kind’ Study Points to Cancer Risks in L.A. Air
Concentrations of cancer-causing pollutants are 426 times higher in Los Angeles than allowed under the Clean Air Act of 1990, according to a study that could prompt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to monitor the nation's air pollutants more carefully. The Los Angeles Times reports that the study, slated for release today by the House Government Reform Committee, is "the first of its kind to determine cancer risks in the air people actually breathe." The study collected thousands of air samples over the last three years from Los Angeles, Long Beach and Burbank, and analyzed the health risks posed by various pollutants. Despite efforts to reduce harmful levels of carcinogens, high levels of chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene remain, thwarting the 1990 act's target of "reducing the lifetime cancer risk from exposure to those chemicals to one additional cancer case per million exposed people." U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who requested the study, said, "It should be a wake-up to us that we've got to do more. We need to pay a lot more attention to toxic air pollutants, just like we've paid attention to ozone, smog and acid rain" (Getter, 3/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.