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Death by Smog in California

Recent estimates of deaths from breathing smog are revealed to be twice as high as previous estimates in the Los Angeles Basin. //

Unlike previous studies, researchers led by Michael Jerrett, associate professor of preventive medicine, measured specific amounts of soot and number of deaths in several neighborhoods rather than annual citywide averages.

Mortality from heart attacks and other serious chronic illnesses like lung cancer have been found to be two to three times higher than previous studies

Air pollution in the form of soot comes from vehicles, factories and other sources. This fine particulate matter lodges in the lungs causing diseases or aggravating existing ones.

The study revealed that the highest rates of smog related Studies conducted by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's revealed that about 66 per million Californians are at a risk of contracting cancer because of air pollution. Researchers at Harvard University also found that with the decline of soot pollution in some northeastern cities deaths declined as well.

With advancements in technology the size of the fine particle keeps getting finer such that it can even cross the lung into the bloodstream creating heart problems. Results of the study, point to the need to strengthen national standards of fine particulates.

The study revealed that the highest rates of smog related deaths occurred in the Inland Empire, where prevailing winds blow the diesel soot in. Mountain ranges in western Riverside and San Bernardino counties trap the soot leading to increased health risks.

According to Jerret the existing mortality estimate was based on a 2002 national study of 500,000 people that used just three monitors in the L.A. basin, missing major pockets of pollution unlike the new study, which analyzed soot measurements and deaths in 269 ZIP Codes and 23 monitoring sites across the basin.

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