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New Map by UCLA Shows Factory Toxins in L.A. County

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Cal EcoMaps showing factories and population densities.
Cal EcoMaps showing factories and population densities. | Screenshot: Cal EcoMaps"

UCLA has launched a new interactive map tracking the impact of toxins from local factories on the environment in Los Angeles County. Developed by seven students, it details more than eight million pounds of toxic chemicals released into the environment during 2012.

The group looked at the petroleum, chemicals, primary metals, and fabricated metals industries, which make up 89 percent of toxins in the county. With data from 172 facilities that are required to report toxin releases to the government, students developed an environmental impact rating system. For example, Exide Technologies, which has been under scrutiny for pollution from its battery recycling operation in Vernon, scored a 78, one of the highest. Two other businesses, Pacific Alloy Castings in South Gate and Quemetco in the city of Industry, received higher scores.

UCLA was tapped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of an academic challenge for the project and will continue its work over the next school year. The agency tracks nearly 650 toxic chemicals from more than 20,000 U.S. facilities and hopes projects like UCLA's will increase the public's awareness of toxic releases.

"If the public doesn't care, then the facilities won't care," said student Ha Hyun Chung. "And how would they care without access to this information in the first place?"

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Thieves Are Stealing California’s Scarce Water. Where’s It Going? Illegal Marijuana Farms

As drought grips most of California, water thefts have increased to record levels. Thieves tap into hydrants, pump water from rivers and break into remote water stations and tanks.
A bed cushion is carried by a man walking into one of the homes in the Olympic village during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

The Olympic Village: A Los Angeles Innovation

The Olympic Village is now an accepted part of the Olympic tradition, but it wasn't always that way. It was an innovation born in Los Angeles.
a pink sign on a door reads "If You Don't Wear a Mask Please Do Not Come Inside"

Indoor Mask Mandate is Back for L.A. County

In the face of steadily increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Los Angeles County residents will again be required to wear masks indoors starting Saturday night.