What Do YOU Think About All the Cancer in the Air?

The risk levels are “clearly too high, and unacceptable, relative to breathing air here in Southern California,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which released the study. “The acceptable risk level is really down somewhere between one and 10 in a million.”

But unfortunately, The Register reports today that the new study from South Coast AQMD shows that 1,200 out of 1 million in the Greater LA/Orange County area are expected to contract cancer from being exposed the toxic pollutants floating around in our air during their lifetimes. The chief culprit remains diesel exhaust, considered responsible for 84% of the total risk of cancer. Mobile pollution sources, such as cars, trucks and other vehicles, account for an estimated 94% of the risk.

And according to this new study, the risk is greatest near LA County’s commercial ports, with as many as 2,900 people per million at risk for cancer, as well as Inland Empire areas such as Fontana at 1,400 per million. Meanwhile, South Orange County continues to have the lowest risk levels measured in the basin. North County’s levels were higher, due to proximity to corridors along which goods are shipped, such as freeways and railroad tracks, where diesel exhaust is more prevalent.

So what do we do about all these carcinogens in our air? What do you think should be done about all this carcinogenic air pollution still in our atmosphere? Should South Coast AQMD and other local regulatory agencies take a harder line on diesel exhaust and other vehicle exhausts?

I want to hear what you have to say about all this cancer causing pollution. Is it a serious problem, and what do we do about it? Do we need tougher regulation on this threat to our health and our environment? Or are we making too much out of nothing? Go ahead and have your say.

  9 comments for “What Do YOU Think About All the Cancer in the Air?

  1. January 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I think it is funny that State Senate President Dan Perata wants lower emissions for the rest of us, while he drives a V8 Dodge Charger muscle car. Priceless! What a damn hypocrite. Vote no on Prop. 93! It is time to retire Perata…

  2. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 3:58 pm


    I hate to say this to you, but can we please stay on topic here? You can say (just about) whatever you want about anything in an Open Forum (and in fact, we’ll have one up for the Presidential Debate tonight), but in other threads we prefer to stay pretty close to (if not right on) the topic at hand. So while I agree with you that Don Perata’s a prick and Prop 93 sucks, we’re NOT talking about those issues here. And unless you intend to tie these to the new South Coast AQMD study on carcinogenic air pollution, then it’s better to save the other stuff for an Open Forum.

    Thanks. đŸ™‚

  3. cook
    January 5, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I thought it was cigarette smoke, or are the estimates interchangeable depending on the desired outcome of what is being said?

  4. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 7:26 pm


    HUH?! Who mentioned cigarettes? Not South Coast AQMD. Sorry, but you’re losing me here…

  5. just...asking?
    January 5, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    OC Sanitaion District just gave themselves a raise to $212.50 per 30 minute meeting, but decided it was in OC’s best interest to not worry about toxic emmisions from plants. Both carcinogious emissions and odor were not important to the directors but their food and personal pay were!

    Cancer of our residents and asthma of our children are not important to OC electeds on OCSD but evidentley a few more bucks in their pockets are!

    Why doesn’t Orange County get it!

    Just asking?????

  6. January 5, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    With all due respect Andrew, I am on topic. Isn’t this post about emissions? If this is such a problem, then why is the Senate President driving a muscle car? The fact is, every Democrat legislator ought to be driving a car that has lower emissions. Otherwise they are being hypocrites.

    As for the issue of diesel exhaust, it is my understanding that there are cleaner Diesel fuels being used in Europe. Why aren’t we using them here in the U.S.?

    Secondly, why haven’t all the school districts switched to compressed natural gas buses instead of using diesel fuel?

    Lastly, the fact that smog is worse in the Inland Empire is due to our geography. They have to deal with an inversion layer. Even in the days of the Wild West there was smog in that part of So Cal. The bad air gets trapped there under a layer of warm air and by the mountains. It is a bad situation.

    So what can we do? Quite frankly I think that as a nation we need to invest more in alternative fuels and try to find a way to move forward without being reliant on oil. Bush has done very little in this regard. Perhaps the next President will do a better job.

  7. just...asking?
    January 5, 2008 at 9:06 pm


    Look at the crap the other senators and assemblymembers are driving! SUV’s and Towncars! A Charger is the least of sins these state houses are abusing. Get back on topic!


  8. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 9:19 pm


    Well, thanks for getting back on topic. If you want to talk about something else, the Presidential Debate open thread is now OPEN upstairs. But anyways, I agree that we’re in DIRE need of more and better renewable energy. We really should think about switching old diesel into biodiesel, or perhaps just tossing the old internal combustion engine for plug-in hybrids and new electric cars.

    just asking-

    Dammit, you ask GOOD questions! Yes, why again are our elected “leaders” in OC cutting themselves bigger paychecks while they do NOTHING about all this crap in our air? And why do the CReeps talk so much about Don Perata’s car while they accept state pay stubs for polluting cars and do NOTHING to encourage more fuel-efficient vehicles here? Keep asking, and hopefully we’ll get good answers. đŸ™‚

  9. Urizen
    January 6, 2008 at 9:40 am

    It’s time to retire Pedroza from the blogosphere. He’s a minor annoyance at best and outright despicable in his personal attacks (often based on race or body weight) on politicians. His site should be boycotted by all thinking persons. And in his personal life he contributes to the problem at hand by blowing lots of hot air, contributing to our atmospheric difficulties!

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