What You Can't See Can Kill You

Los Angeles' air sure looks better than it did decades ago. Less lung-stinging ozone hangs over downtown, and the deep bourbon hues of summertime skies are fainter than ever before. But looks are deceiving. A new threat haunts the air we breathe – particles tinier than a virus; so small that, in the diesel-belching ports of Los Angeles and Long beach, more than a million of them fit in a marble-sized chunk of air. These ultrafine particles become lodged in our lungs and hearts and are the culprit behind growing cancer rates. Some 9,600 people will die this year in California because of a smog-related disease. This amounts to a public-health emergency. Why, then, are only a handful of scientists, doctors and public officials responding to the challenge?

The Air That We Breathe Just when it looked like we might win the war on smog, a new and more deadly form of air pollution stalks Los AngelesStench of Politics Industry money to the “Mod Caucus” fouls the fight for clean air The World Chokes From the coal-powered factories that contributed to the deaths of thousands in London in the 1950s to the smog caused by forest fires in Indonesia,…Driving in Utopia Cleaning the air means solving every urban ill at once Air Angels The crusading doctor Kaiser Permanente emergency-room physician John…Reclaiming the Air Ah, the memories of sweet orange blossoms in downtown L.A.Pacoima’s Lot A deindustrialized L.A. imports its smog Cancer Risk Click image to open a pdf file of the map.…I’ve Got You Under My Skin Remembering the stinging lungs of an L.A. boyhood Smog Sick Photos by Larry Hirshowitz Jesse Marquez: “All of Them Are…History of Smog 1943 First recognized episodes of smog occur in Los Angeles, though it takes a…The Worst PollutersHow Smog Forms in Los AngelesBasic Ingredients of Smog Click image to open a larger version of the chart.…Solving Smog Our suggestions for ways out of this mess Hey, Doc, It’s About my Dog Asthma doesn't only affect humans Outing Polluters Oil refineries, grocery stores and lackadaisical enforcement have helped make L.A. the smog capital of the West. Here are just some of the egregious violators…Pained Notes An opus to sore lungsBetter Mileage On Ice Why refrigerators are more efficient than carsHormones and Boogers Like a warped Willy Wonka movie, the kids…All Fired Up Clearing the air begins with harsh words for our smog policeDesigner Air A clean city looks a lot like L.A.’s growth around transit stations The Nutty Professors Ingenious schemes to wash, pipe and blow away our worries Ports of Cough What it will take to clean up the mess caused by ships and trucks Smog Pop The musical life of air pollutionThe Smog Doctor John Peters and the science of children and dirty air

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