Smog Chokes Families in the Central Valley

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FRESNO--A group of Latino residents from California’s San Joaquin Valley descended on the state capitol in Sacramento last week to make policymakers aware of air pollution levels in their communities that have been deemed some of the highest in the entire country, according to a report by Fresno’s bilingual newspaper Vida en el Valle. In particular, the farm worker community of Arvin, which is 87.5 percent Latino, was named the city with the most smog in the nation as recently as 2007. It is located 15 miles from Bakersfield, which was also on a list of most contaminated cities published this year by the American Lung Association. Residents testified to the horrible conditions created by the air pollution, from high rates of asthma and pneumonia, to families being afraid to leave their homes for fear of becoming sick. The action was organized to coincide with other events as part of Clean Air Action Day 2010.