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600 Neighborhoods Have Elevated Cancer Risks

According to new data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people living in nearly 600 neighborhoods across the country are breathing concentrations of toxic air pollutions that put them at a much greater risk of contracting cancer. The levels of 80 cancer-causing substances released by automobiles, factories, and other sources, in these neighborhoods produce a 100 in 1 million cancer risk. This means that if 1 million people breathed air with similar concentrations over their lifetime, about 100 people would be expected to develop cancer because of their exposure to the pollution.

Parts of Los Angeles, California, and Madison County, Illinois, had the highest cancer risks in the nation. Los Angeles, California’s cancer risk is 1200 in 1 million, and Madison County, Illinois’s cancer risk is 1100 in 1 million, according to the EPA data. People living in parts of Coconino County, Arizona, and Lyon County, Nevada had the lowest cancer risk from air toxics.

“Air toxic risks are local. They are a function of the sources nearest to you”, said David Guinnup, who leads the groups that perform the risk assessments for toxic pollutants at the EPA. “If you are out in the Rocky Mountains, you are going to be closer to 2 in a million. If you are in an industrial area with a lot of traffic, you are going to be closer to 1100 in 1 million.”

For additional information see: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090624/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_air_toxics

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