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Southern California Leads the Nation in Air Pollution Deaths

City of Los Angeles covered in Smog

For Southern California natives, air pollution has been an issue we face every day. Unfortunately, a recent study paints a picture of just how bad the smog really is.

Researchers have found that more than a thousand people are actually dying each year as a result of Southern California’s infamously bad air quality. Pollution levels constantly exceed what's considered safe by health professionals.

And Los Angeles is the city with the most fatal air pollution in the entire nation, with a total of 1,341 estimated annual deaths. Riverside comes in at second worst with 808 deaths.

Nationally, air pollution related deaths were estimated to be at around 9,320 per year, a number large enough to account for the annual amount of deaths caused by drunk driving.

In addition to these deaths, researchers also found that about 3,225 people in the LA area will be hospitalized due to heart, cardiac or acute respiratory related illnesses because of air pollution.


Map of U.S. Mortality Numbers overlaid with Air Pollution Totals


It is more clear than ever that changes need to be made. There has never been a more appropriate time to make some lifestyle changes. Given that the transportation sector is now the largest source of pollution in the U.S., we encourage every one to try some form of alternative transportation.

Did you know that walking for two miles a day can decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 40%? Or that people who switch their commute mode from driving to public transit lose approximately seven pounds in the first year?

UCLA Transportation makes it especially easy for all commuters to ditch the solo vehicle trips and opt for something a little more green. We provide subsidized transit passes, biking resources, annual monetary incentives for walkers, and more.

Fix our air, fix your commute, fix your health, fix your peace of mind. Be conscious of the risks outlined in this new study. Above all, be a green commuter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images