A new UCLA study shows how transit systems affect air pollution levels in parts of Los Angeles. Ted Chen reports from Boyle Heights for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
The results of a new study by the UCLA Center for Clean Air may surprise you.
UCLA professor Suzanne Paulson, who was head of the study, said that aircraft emissions make pollution in Mar Vista worse than an area like Boyle Heights.
"Aircraft, when they're idling and taking off, consume a large amount of fuel, so they have very large bursts of pollution," Paulson said.
Rather than measure smog or ozone, researchers used an emissions-free electric vehicle to measure real-time air pollutant concentrations.
"There's a growing body of data that indicates that the more of these fresh emissions that you're exposed to, the more likely you are to suffer a variety of adverse health outcomes," Paulson said.
Exposure to these pollutants have been linked to an increase in asthma, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and low birth weight, the research noted.
Wonsik Choi, a postgraduate researcher in Paulson's lab, attributes this discovery to the area’s wealth.
"Affluent West Los Angeles experiences rapid turnover of the vehicle fleet, resulting in a higher proportion of newer vehicles with cleaner engines and better fuel efficiency," Choi said.
Of the neighborhoods studied, the highest concentration of ultrafine particles were found in Mar Vista, followed by Boyle Heights, Downtown LA, and then West LA.