Southern California environment news and trends

Breathe easier: Check air quality with new smartphone app

Take a deep breath — unless your phone tells you otherwise. This week, the American Lung Association announced a free smartphone application designed to help users breathe a little easier. Called “State of the Air,” the new app delivers updated air quality information in the immediate environment.

Utilizing ZIP code and geo-location technology, the app can check levels of ozone and particle pollution, which are the two most common air pollutants, according to the Lung Association’s 2012 State of the Air report, released in April. The report also showed that over 127.2 million people live in U.S. counties with dangerous levels of both.

"More than 40 percent of people in the United States live in areas where air pollution continues to threaten their health," said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association in a statement. "The State of the Air app is especially valuable warmer weather, when ozone pollution peaks in many cities with long hot sunny days."


Season’s eatings: Find local, fresh food with new app

Mercer 12823

Abdullah Pope/AFP/Getty Images

In the produce-rich state of California, it’s easy to get spoiled by the vast variety of fresh food available at local farmers markets and grocery stores. But with food knowledge becoming more of a commodity in Los Angeles, there are still plenty of us who have no idea when tomatoes are in season or where to find the freshest kale in town. Thanks to a new iPhone app ‘Eat Local,’ finding fresh, local food near you — as well as a host of healthy eating information — is available at the touch of a screen.

As reported by Treehugger, the functional, easy to navigate app allows users to find local farmers markets, and see what exactly is in season in the chosen region at any given time. Perusing the California page, each month of the year is broken in half, detailing what exactly is in season early in the month as opposed to later in the month. There are harvest calendars for northern and southern California and over 100 healthy recipes.