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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 Polluters
How
Smog Forms in Los Angeles
Basic
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

LA Weekly