Experts at UCLA recently tested the air quality in Boyle Heights, Downtown, Mar Vista, and West LA for "ultrafine particle pollutants" (on summer afternoons) and found that overall, the area with the worst air was ... Mar Vista? Because its so close to the Santa Monica Airport, the air in Mar Vista (specifically, the previously-unknown-to-Curbed North Westdale neighborhood, which is just downwind of the airport generally) is full of crap from plane engines, making its air dirtier than even Boyle Heights or Downtown, which are both ringed by freeways and criss-crossed by major roads. Boyle Heights's short blocks and plentiful stop signs helped secure its spot as second most polluted--stop-and-go traffic eventually translates to "frequent emission spikes from accelerating of vehicles," the study says. West LA had the best air, in addition to seeing a "dramatic" drop between 2008 and 2011--the researchers says this was most likely because the people who live and drive in West LA are wealthier and drive newer, more efficient cars. In general, poorer neighborhoods tend to have worse air. The study is notable for testing "freshly emitted pollutants" rather than smog or ozone; exposure "has been linked to increases in asthma, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, low birth weight, pre-term births and other ailments," according to ScienceBlog.
· L.A. 'hoods show big differences in transit-related air pollution [ScienceBlog]