The amount of toxic chemicals in California's air rose 10 percent between 2010 and 2011, which was more than the overall increase of 8 percent nationwide during that same timeframe.
So reported the Sacramento Bee, which was looking at new data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA posted the greenhouse gas emissions data, citing transparency and the need "to identify opportunities to cut pollution, minimize wasted energy, and save money."
Across the U.S., nearly 8,000 facilities in nine industry sectors – including power plants, refineries, chemicals and waste – reported what equaled 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions. California accounted for about a third of that, with 491 facilities reporting more than 1 billion metric tons.
L.A. County, for its part, saw 80 facilities report more than 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.
Responding to the World Health Organization's decision to rate diesel fumes as a Group 1 carcinogen last June, environmental experts told OnCentral that Los Angeles is "dominated by diesel vehicles." Dense South L.A., in particular, is cordoned off by the 10, 105 and 710 freeways, with the 110 going straight through its heart. Those routes, along with the Alameda Corridor, make air quality an issue.
"The Alameda Corridor is where a lot of locomotives that are leaving L.A. with goods for the rest of the country travel," Andrea Hricko, a professor of preventive medicine at USC, said in June. "You've got people in South L.A. who are exposed to that exhaust."
The EPA had 2011 statistics for several facilities in the South L.A. area, including the following four:
Malburg Generating Station (2715 W. 50th St., Vernon, CA)
- Carbon dioxide: 270,517 metric tons
- Methane: 105
- Nitrous oxide: 106
- Total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents: 270,778
Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc. (2901 Fruitland Ave., Vernon, CA)
- Carbon dioxide: 66,064 metric tons
- Methane: 20
- Nitrous oxide: 29
- Total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents: 66,113
Exide Technologies (2700 S. Indiana St., Los Angeles, CA)
- Carbon dioxide: 23,382 metric tons
- Methane: 12
- Nitrous oxide: 22
- Total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents: 23,416
Lunday-Thagard Company (9301 S. Garfield Ave., South Gate, CA)
- Carbon dioxide: 32,376 metric tons
- Methane: 809
- Nitrous oxide: 85
- Total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents: 33,270
The EPA did note that power plants "remain the largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions," but that 2011 emissions were 4.6 percent lower than 2010's numbers. That, said the agency, reflects "an ongoing increase in power generation from natural gas and renewable sources."
Photo by Veronica Jauriqui via Flickr Creative Commons.