SoCal’s War on Smog Is Slipping After Years of Improvement

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Smog hangs over downtown Los Angeles in a 2018 file photo. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Smog hangs over downtown Los Angeles in a 2018 file photo. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

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The war on smog has been called one of America’s greatest environmental successes. Decades of emissions-cutting regulations under a bipartisan law — the 1970 Clean Air Act — have eased the choking pollution that once shrouded U.S. cities. Cleaner air has saved lives and strengthened the lungs of Los Angeles children.

But now, air quality is slipping once again.

Bad air days are ticking up across the nation, and emissions reductions are slowing. The most notable setback has been with ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog that builds up in warm, sunny weather and triggers asthma attacks and other health problems that can be deadly.

Health effects from ozone pollution have remained essentially unchanged over the last decade — “stubbornly high,” according to a study published this year by scientists at New York University and the American Thoracic Society.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

A graphic shows the annual number of bad air days in Southern California from 1980 to 2018. (Credit: Rahul Mukherjee / Los Angeles Times)
A graphic shows the annual number of bad air days in Southern California from 1980 to 2018. (Credit: Rahul Mukherjee / Los Angeles Times)
A graphic shows smog levels in Los Angeles compared to San Joaquin Valley, Houston, New York and San Francisco. (Credit: Rahul Mukherjee / Los Angeles Times)
A graphic shows smog levels in Los Angeles compared to San Joaquin Valley, Houston, New York and San Francisco. (Credit: Rahul Mukherjee / Los Angeles Times)

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