In addition to outreach and analysis focused directly on feedback from community members, it was vital for us to measure and assess air quality in the Del Amo community. Our study area is in the highest decile of the environmental justice (EJ) index for air pollution in California according to the CalEnviroScreen, so we deployed 12 PurpleAir monitors throughout the Del Amo community to better understand the resident’s exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). To increase the community’s access to the data from these devices, each monitor was also added as public “Stations” to IQAir’s network, which means that community members can use IQAir’s free AirVisual app to get air quality alerts and health information based on the data from the monitors in their neighborhood (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Between 2021 and 2022 twelve PurpleAir PA-II air quality monitors were deployed to 13 locations throughout the Del Amo community. Most of the monitors were installed at the homes of residents, and one was installed at a park during the Park’s construction. To protect the privacy of the hosts the name of each monitor and its map location were based on the nearest intersection. A live map of the data from these devices can be found online at PurpleAir’s website. Each of these monitors was also added to IQAir’s free AirVisual app, so community members could get real time alerts and health information based on the data from these monitors.
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Pollution
CalEnviroScreen 4.0 PM2.5 Pollution values are used to evaluate air quality in census tracts due to the impacts of PM. The PM2.5 data in the above map is based on the annual mean concentration of PM2.5, using the weighted average of measured monitor concentrations and satellite observations in µg/m3, over three years (2015 to 2017). (OEHHA 2021a, page 37)
Fine Particulate matter (PM2.5) “is very small airborne particle pollution, less than 2.5 micrometers, which is less than the thickness of a human hair. PM2.5 is a mixture of particles that can include organic chemicals, dust, soot and metals. These particles can come from cars and trucks, factories, wood burning, and other activities. They can travel deep into the lungs because they are so small and cause various health problems including heart and lung disease.”(OEHHA 2021b)
“Children, the elderly, and people suffering from heart or lung disease, asthma, or chronic illness are most sensitive to the effects of PM2.5 exposure.”(OEHHA 2021b)
The above figure depicts the statewide PM2.5 Pollution Exposure (A) with close-ups of the PM2.5 exposure for Los Angeles County (B) and the Study Area (C). These maps depict percentile ranges based on a statewide scoring of individual census tracts.
Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) Emissions
CalEnviroScreen 4.0 Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) Pollution data in the above map is based on the spatial distribution of gridded DPM emissions from on-road and non-road sources from 2016 (tons/year). (OEHHA 2021a, page 47)
Exhaust from trucks, buses, trains, ships and other equipment with diesel engines contains a mixture of gasses and solid particles. These solid particles are known as diesel particulate matter” (DPM). DPM contains hundreds of different chemicals. Many of these are harmful to health. The highest levels of DPM are near ports, rail yards and freeways. The particles in DPM can reach deep into the lung, where they can contribute to health problems including eye, throat and nose irritation, heart and lung disease, and lung cancer. Children and the elderly are most sensitive to the effects of diesel PM. (OEHHA 2021b)
The above figure depicts the statewide DPM Pollution Exposure (A) with close-ups of the DPM exposure for Los Angeles County (B) and the Study Area (C). These maps depict percentile ranges based on a statewide scoring of individual census tracts.
CalEnviroScreen 4.0 Ozone Pollution values are used to evaluate air quality in census tracts due to the impacts of ozone. The ozone data in the above map is based on the mean of summer months (May-October) of the daily maximum 8-hour ozone concentration (ppm), averaged over three years (2017-2019). (OEHHA 2021a, page 31)
“Ozone is the main ingredient of smog. At ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants chemically react in the presence of sunlight. The main sources of ozone are trucks, cars, planes, trains, factories, farms, construction, and dry cleaners.” (OEHHA 2021b)
Ozone can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, and make chronic illnesses worse, even at low levels of exposure. Children and the elderly are sensitive to the effects of ozone. Ozone levels are highest in the afternoon and on hot days. People who spend a lot of time outdoors may also be affected by ozone.”(OEHHA 2021b)
The above figure depicts the statewide Ozone Pollution Exposure (A) with close-ups of the Ozone exposure for Los Angeles County (B) and the Study Area (C). These maps depict percentile ranges based on a statewide scoring of individual census tracts.
The full Del Amo Health Report from the Coalition for Clean Air is available here.