PSR-LA Air Pollution Lawsuit Featured in LA Times and CBS

angela-cbs-screenshotLast year, we announced our law suit to demand that the EPA place air monitors near freeways to determine exactly how much particulate matter is reaching the many families and communities who live within 300 yards of these major roadways. Studies show that women who live near heavy traffic roadways have a greater risk of having a low birth weight child and the child is more likely to develop asthma. Over a lifetime, living with this pollution also increases the likelihood of adult onset asthma, heart attacks, cancer and premature death. Cal State Fullerton’s 2008 study of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties cites 3,052 deaths and 2,300 hospital admissions attributed to just the portion of particulate matter that is in excess of the federal health-based air standards.

The LA Times followed up on the story this week, interviewing PSR-LA’s Angela Johnson Meszaros and gaining attention from CBS Los Angeles and KABC radio, and even a related story by LA Daily News on a proposed apartment complex near the 101 and 405 freeways.

See the excerpts, video, and audio below.

Air board will start monitoring pollution next to SoCal freeways

excerpt from the LA Times

By Tony Barboza | August 25, 2013

Under EPA requirements, monitors will be installed at four sites, providing data about what the 1 million Southern Californians who live within 300 feet of a freeway are breathing.

Air quality regulators will begin monitoring pollution levels near major Southern California traffic corridors next year, for the first time providing data important to nearly 1 million Southern Californians who are at greater risk of respiratory illness because they live within 300 feet of a freeway.

Under new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, air pollution monitors will be installed at four sites next to some of the region’s busiest freeways. Similar steps will occur in more than 100 big cities across the country.

Scientists have linked air pollution from traffic to a long list of health problems, including asthma, heart disease, bronchitis and lung cancer.

Though tens of millions of people nationwide live within a few hundred feet of a major road, monitoring stations established to measure common air pollutants typically have been placed away from such thoroughfares and other obvious sources of contamination. That’s because the monitors are intended to measure pollution across entire regions to determine if they are within health standards set by the state and federal government.

Of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 35 air quality monitoring stations measuring pollutants across a four-county basin of 17 million people, none sits close to a major roadway. Environmental groups say that system underestimates exposure levels in many neighborhoods.

The new monitoring is likely to have broad implications. If, as expected, the new data show higher pollution levels, environmental organizations and neighborhood activists almost certainly will call for local officials to take more aggressive steps to reduce emissions and curtail residential development near freeways.

“We will do everything possible to make sure people who live near those roadways get the protections they’re entitled to,” said Angela Johnson Meszaros, an attorney for Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, one of several advocacy groups that sued the EPA last year to force it to require fine-particle pollution monitoring near Southern California freeways.

Read the rest of the article at the LA Times

Air Quality Monitors To Be Installed To Measure Vehicle Pollution On SoCal Freeways

excerpt from CBS Los Angeles

Starting in January, two of the four air pollution monitors will be installed along the 10 Freeway in the Inland Empire and along the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana. The monitoring devices will study the impacts of pollution on neighborhoods directly adjacent to freeways both in Los Angeles and nearly 100 major U.S. cities.

A 2008 Cal State Fullerton study of L.A., Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties found 3,052 deaths and 2,300 hospital admissions attributed to vehicle exhaust pollution. Among the health risks identified are asthma, bronchitis, low birth weight, autism and lung and brain cancers.

“What are we going to do about siting new homes and new schools next to freeways?” said Angela Johnson Meszaros, general counsel for Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles (PSRLA), one of the groups that sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the upcoming monitoring.

“We sued, demanding that the EPA require those monitors so we can start making movement toward cleaning up the air,” said Meszaros.

Read the rest at CBS Los Angeles

Talk Radio 790 KABC Peter Tilden Interviews Angela Johnson Meszaros

Listen to the 6-minute interview here, and read more about the the show at Late Night with Peter Tilden on on TalkRadio 790 KABC.

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