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Monday Morning Thinkage

Today's Thinkage comes from a reader concerned about foul air. We encourage those of you with doctorates in environmental sciences to chime in. Or if you know what CEQA stands for, you can also answer. Or if you have a face, we daren't turn away your input.

I have a question that is perhaps tangentially relevant and interesting, or, perhaps not. Smog, as I've learned in my year and a half in LA, is worst at the "inversion layer" rather than at ground level. As we were shopping around for houses, some kind people up in Altadena claimed they breathed fresher air up there b/c they were "above the smog." True enough, you can look out on LA from up there and see the layer of brown everyone else lives in. But I'm not convinced they are "above it"... just high enough to notice it. Possibly they're even in the worst of the ozone, just at the inversion layer. So does anyone know the answer? Is it worth bothering living at 1500ft? Is that high enough to escape the filthy air? Maybe they get more ozone at that altitude but less particulate matter? And if it is worth it, maybe developers should be building some really tall residential high rises! ;-) It wouldn't be just "Living Above LA" but living above LA's bad air!

Thank you for this *cough* hack-hack *cough* question.