One-Third of Calif. Residents Live in Areas With High Smog, Soot
One-third of California residents live in communities that do not meet federal health standards for smog and soot levels, according to a presentation at Thursday's meeting of the California Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The presentation comes as California is experiencing a drought that state officials say could set the state back in terms of air pollution progress.
According to the Times, studies have found that ozone -- a component of smog -- and fine particulate matter called soot can lead to several health problems, such as:
- Heart disease; and
- Respiratory illnesses.
Details of Report
The report found that smog levels remain above federal health standards in four of the state's five biggest urban areas, including:
- Los Angeles;
- San Diego; and
- San Joaquin Valley.
The San Francisco Bay Area is the only urban region that meets all federal standards for smog and soot, according to the report.
However, the report also found that smog levels in urban areas have dropped by 15% to 20% since 2003.
Specifically, the report found that:
- 60% of South Coast region residents live in areas that meet federal health standards for air pollution;
- The number of high-ozone days in the South Coast region has declined by 21% since 2003;
- 25% of San Joaquin Valley residents live in areas that meet federal health standards for air pollution; and
- The number of high-ozone days in the San Joaquin Valley region has declined by 35% since 2003.