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L.A. County tops list of U.S. toxic air

June 24, 2009 1:10:06 PM PDT
The government's latest report on cancer risks from air pollution is out, and the news is not good for residents of L.A. County. L.A. County has been ranked number 1 in the country when it comes to cancer risk due to breathing toxic air.

Vehicle emissions are a major contributor when it comes to ranking Southern California's air quality.

"It's real smoggy, you don't get to breathe. A lot of trees, but no breeze," said Cerritos resident Tina Thomas.

In Cerritos, the problem is especially bad. The Environmental Protection Agency said the pocket of L.A. County where the 5, 605 and the 91 meet elevates the cancer risk 34 times what it is for the rest of the U.S.

"You can see it in the air most of the time, and a lot of people have trouble breathing," Doty Guzman said.

She said she and her husband George have noticed the worsening air quality during their daily rounds of golf.

Some players at the Iron-Wood Nine Golf Course keep tee time early to avoid problems with pollutants.

"I find my eyes sometimes getting all messed up because of it. It's been a problem for a long time," said Logan Ruru.

Orange County is sixth on the EPA's list of areas worst rated air.

The EPA lists vehicle emissions as one of the top pollutants contributing to the problem, and many Southern Californians don't know if locals can give up their habit of driving solo.

"Because we're snobby and selfish, it's just the way it is, everyone likes their own personal space," said Virginia Rigali, a Los Angeles resident.

Rigali was ridesharing on Wednesday.

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