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In an interview at a recent groundbreaking for a freeway-adjacent apartment project, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that he grew up near the 101 and 405 freeways and that many in his family had cancer.But he said he opposes any restrictions on how many homes can be built near freeways and thinks that improving air-filtration, building design and tailpipe emissions are a better way to reduce risks to residents.And with good reason: People there suffer higher rates of asthma, heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and pre-term births.Recent research has added more health risks to the list, including childhood obesity, autism and dementia.Yet Southern California civic officials have flouted those warnings, allowing a surge in home building near traffic pollution, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of U. Census data, building permits and other government records.
Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, who lives several hundred feet from Interstate 5, said freeway pollution is such an urgent and complex problem that he wants the city to establish buffer zones.They kept the windows shut, yet a grimy, black film settled regularly over the furniture, counters and even their skin — a never-ending reminder of the vehicle exhaust and soot they were breathing just 100 feet from 14 lanes of traffic.“We were constantly sick,” said Caleb, an actor in his 30s.The population near Los Angeles freeways is growing faster than elsewhere in the city as planners push developers to concentrate new housing near transportation hubs, convinced that increasing urban density will help meet state targets for greenhouse gas reductions.
More than 1.2 million people already live in high-pollution zones within 500 feet of a Southern California freeway, with more moving in every day.
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