Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


24,000 California Deaths Linked to Pollution

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.


A state report (.pdf) to be presented today says that "as many as 24,000 deaths annually in California are linked to chronic exposure to fine particulate pollution," according to the LA Times. That's more than triple the figures announced by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) when they asked Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush to declare a state of emergency regarding the 5400 environmental/pollution related deaths a year.

With the alarming amount of deaths, the obvious question is, what is going to be done about it?

Earlier this year, Britney Spears needed to go to the hospital, a near 7-mile journey. The LAPD escorted her at the cost of $25,000 because of the danger the paparazzi presented to her life. That's fine, they did what needed to be done. But if the State of California is finding that 24,000 people are dying annually (that's about 66 people a day) and we know the cause, will the pollution police start using their resources at full capacity to stop this immediately?

Support for LAist comes from

Someone, no doubt, will say we need to stop all the cars on the roads. Then a level-headed politician will go, but the economy stupid -- a bad economy just means more crime, more death and injury. But with $70 billion as the estimated economic cost of the premature deaths and illness caused by the pollution, says another study, how much crime can be attributed to that, if any at all?

So what's quick solution? Here is one: "Researchers also found that when particulates are cut even temporarily, death rates fall. 'When Dublin imposed a coal ban, when Hong Kong imposed reductions in sulfur dioxide, when there was a steel mill strike in Utah . . . they saw immediate reductions in deaths,'" Bart Croes, chief researcher for the California Air Resources Board, told the Times.

Photo by chang'r via Flickr