AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “Geographically, it’s a much more contained municipality,” said Perry, chairwoman of L.A.’s Environmental Quality Wastewater Management Committee. “It’s inland and it’s backed up against a mountain.” The AQMD gathers data on particulate matter annually from its 32 air monitoring stations across Southern California. The top 10 ranking was reported at an asthma conference sponsored by the AQMD last week. Officials held the meeting to try to understand why an increasing number of children are suffering from asthma and how to cut Southern California’s air pollution. “New studies empower us to proceed with more stringent air quality standards,” said Elaine Chang, deputy executive officer of the AQMD. “There’s a lot of data being collected. It’s not always easy to do human studies following folks around for several years to identify the causes of the health effects, to link certain health symptoms directly back to fine particles.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests for fine particulates in the air that are most readily inhaled. Usually, smog-choked Southern California exceeds federal EPA particulate standards, and ranks first – or second behind Houston – for the most unhealthy air. Burbank is sixth on a list of the nation’s top 10 cities with the worst soot, according to a three-year study released by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Diesel exhaust is the main culprit for the high rates of PM 2.5 – the fine particulates that lodge in the lungs when inhaled, officials said. The city also sits hard against the Verdugo Mountains, where pollution from neighboring cities collects. “It’s not surprising,” said Burbank City Councilman Todd Campbell, director of public policy for Seal Beach-based Clean Energy, which provides natural gas for transportation. “We have a tendency to be like a dust bowl.” Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, a governing board member of the western region of the AQMD, attributes Burbank’s bad air to the proximity to two freeways heavily traveled by diesel-belching big rigs. “It’s part of a problem that a lot of areas face,” said Catherine Brown, the air monitoring program manager for the EPA. “We’re all working toward bringing those levels down.” Officials in Burbank and across the region have been working on ways to reduce pollution – cleaner fuels in trucks and cars and improvements at the Port of Los Angeles, which generates 25 percent of the region’s pollution, officials said. Burbank also has the Bob Hope Airport, and some studies have found that airports can have harmful health effects on nearby communities. Residents living near the airport have complained for years about soot on their properties that they believe comes from planes. Victor Gill, Bob Hope Airport spokesman, said the airport has been converting ground equipment and buses from diesel to electric. The airport recently got a $500,000 federal grant to use hybrid-electric buses, he said. “The airport is always involved in looking for ways to improve the air pollution situation,” he said. “We’re certainly trying to be proactive and pursuing those clean air initiatives from those sources associated specifically with the airport.” Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!