HUNTINGTON PARK — A demonstration Wednesday against air pollution attracted about 40 teenagers and local activists in front of Huntington Park High School. Several wore gas masks and one dressed as the grim reaper.
The rally came in response to a study released in November by the South Coast Air Quality Management District that found cancer risks from breathing toxic air pollution are especially high for residents of highly industrialized cities in southeast Los Angeles County.
The two-year, $1-million study said people in the congested core of Los Angeles County--especially in communities such as Huntington Park and Pico Rivera, with a large number of low-income residents--face the greatest risk in the region of contracting cancer linked to polluted air. Several protesters criticized the AQMD for adopting a 1994 regulation that sets tough restrictions for factories that create a risk of cancer greater than 100 cases in 1 million people over a lifetime. The demonstrators said the AQMD rule should have required factories to reduce the risk to no more than one case in 1 million.
"It's just a shame that we don't have a say in these pollution rules," said Livette Ruiz, a sophomore at Huntington Park High School.
The rally was organized by Communities for a Better Environment, a local grass-roots environmental group.