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AQMD Study Estimates Air in Much of LB Carries Higher Cancer Risk Than Refinery-Adjacent Areas; See Map Estimating Cancer Risk From Multiple Air Toxics

A study completed last year by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) estimates the air in much of LB carries a higher cancer risk from airborne toxics than most refinery-adjacent areas in L.A.'s southbay. AQMD called its landmark study, known as MATES-2 (Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study), "one of the most comprehensive conducted in an urban environment." It includes a map modeling the estimated cancer risks across the L.A. basin, including LB.

AQMD's study concluded that mobile sources -- including cars, trucks, trains, ships and aircraft -- are the greatest contributors to cancer risk with roughly 70% of the airborne cancer risk attributed to diesel particulate emissions. Most of ELB and part of LB's shore near the OC county line were ranked in a slightly lower cancer chance category akin to most of the L.A. basin urban area (estimated 1,000 to 1,200 in a million chance of contracting cancer if one lived at the site for 70 yrs.).

However, a portion of Los Altos south of 405 that appears to be in the area of LB Airport's main approach path is ranked in the map's highest risk area. The study and the map arguably understate total health risks since they only indicate the risk of contracting cancer, not other diseases such as emphysema and COPD.

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