The Smoggiest Town In America

The Central California town of Arvin exceeds federal ozone standards more often than any other city in the nation, according to EPA figures. But for Arvin residents, the smog has only local effects, not local sources.

"Hemmed in by mountains, Arvin is the final destination for pollutants from cities as far away as San Francisco Bay, and its wheezing residents are paying the price. Many of them complain that the air smells toxic."

"Arvin has none of the smoke-belching factories or congested freeways of cities such as Los Angeles. In fact, it produces little pollution. But the pollutants that blow in from elsewhere get trapped by the mountains, causing airborne particles to coat homes and streets and blot out views of the nearby Tehachapi range on hot summer days."

"Doctors and public officials say asthma and other respiratory problems are common among the 15,000 residents who live 20 miles southeast of Bakersfield. People complain of watery eyes, dry throats and inexplicable coughs, particularly in the summer, when temperatures can climb over 100 degrees and stay there for days."

Full Story: Calif. Farm Town Is Nation's Smoggiest


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