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Study: Los Angeles smog pollution on the decline

Posted: June 4, 2013 4:52 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2013 4:52 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles skies are less smoggy, a sign that emission-control strategies are working, new research has found.

Scientists analyzing air quality from a recent aircraft campaign and historical data found that ozone pollution in the Los Angeles region declined over the past few decades. Air chemistry also changed, leading to a drop in levels of a compound that contributes to eye irritation.

The improved air suggests California's policies to reduce emissions had an impact, according the researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Pollution comes from vehicles, industries and natural sources like plants.

"This is good news," the study's lead author, Ilana Pollack, said in a statement. "LA's air has lost a lot of its 'sting.'"

Scientists have studied origins and levels of pollution in the Los Angeles basin since the 1960s.

New insights into LA's air came from a large field study in 2010 that relied on aircraft and a research ship to sniff the atmosphere.

The researchers said they hope the study will provide policy makers with the information they need to improve air quality in the area.

The findings will be published in the Journal of Geophysics Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.


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