June 24, 2009

N.Y., Ore., Calif. log high toxin rates

People living in New York, Oregon and California have the greatest risk of developing cancer from breathing toxic chemicals, an analysis indicates.

In the biggest analysis ever of the U.S. air quality, the Environmental Protection Agency determined nearly 2.2 million people lived in neighborhoods where airborne toxins have raised the cancer risk to levels considered unacceptable, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The results of the EPA's National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment found generally higher cancer risks around major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, but some of the riskier counties also included rural areas of Mississippi and Kentucky, the newspaper said.

The analysis indicated about 847,000 of the 2.2 million people most at risk lived in New York City, while the worst single neighborhood identified was located between two freeways in Cerritos, Calif., near Los Angeles, where the EPA said it found an excess cancer risk of more than 1,200 in 1 million, 34 times the national average.