PSR-LA Science & Policy Update: June 2014
Our Science & Policy Updates aim to to two things: first, provide our wonderful supporters with an update into the world of PSR-LA; and second, these updates are our way of offering our take on the most recent and compelling studies making their way up the pipeline. We know that sifting through mountains of available research for those which are reliable and methodologically sound is an often daunting and time-consuming task. We hope that our Science & Policy Updates can shoulder some of that burden for you.
Science is on our side, and with these updates delivered monthly to your e-mail inbox, we are able to share with you how groundbreaking and seminal research backs up the work we do here at PSR-LA and the tough positions we take to protect the health of all communities. Enjoy!
The Built Environment:
Cities are becoming more walkable. And according to a report released June 17th by SmartGrowth America and George Washington University, Los Angeles is on the cusp of becoming a ‘major’ walkable city. Planning and developing LA with a more robust pedestrian infrastructure could potentially begin to reverse decades of sprawl culture, which led to a maze of highways crisscrossing the city’s expanse. This trend also helped to make LA one of the most air-polluted cities in America. However, introducing pedestrian infrastructure into an already auto-dependent culture presents a challenging situation: we want to be healthier by walking, but are we healthier if we walk breathing dirty air?
Regional Air Quality:
This month, we focus on two things: 1) a report released by PSR-LA and three partner organizations that analyzes the kinds and amounts of chemicals being used in Los Angeles and Orange Counties to extract oil; and 2) a new report from the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment that helps explain how particulate matter in the air causes cardiovascular disease. Both pieces help us better understand air quality in the Los Angeles region, how air pollution can and does impact health, and gives important insight into the kinds of policies that should be developed to protect health…
For many years we have known about the carcinogenicity of many agricultural pesticides and have called for a greater understanding of the reproductive and developmental impacts of these chemicals. The UC Davis study released this week is a new addition to the ever-growing body of literature that shows a relationship between pesticides and brain development. For many years we have also known that pesticides – especially fumigant pesticides – do not stay confined to the areas where they are applied, but drift into nearby schools, homes, and communities…
On June 9th a newly declassified report by Sandia National Laboratory was released, revealing details about the near detonation of a hydrogen bomb over North Carolina in 1961. After decades of denying that the crash of a B-52 bomber carrying two multi-megaton hydrogen bombs could have resulted in detonation, we now know that an explosion was barely averted. The force of the crash caused the bomb to go through all but one of its arming steps, and only a highly vulnerable switch prevented detonation. Then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara conceded, “By the slighted margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted…”