The Los Angeles-Long Beach (LA-LB) Harbor Asthma Danger Zone Map identifies areas where asthma patients face danger from pollution sources that exacerbate asthma attacks in the communities of Wilmington, Carson, San Pedro, and West Long Beach. Home to over 440,000 people, the LA-LB Harbor region is one of the most polluted areas in the country with the highest rates of asthma.
The purpose of the Map is to empower the LA-LB Harbor community with actionable data to improve their health and environment. Asthma patients can use the Map to identify areas where they should protect themselves from air pollution. Community advocates, health organizations, and government agencies can use the Map to target interventions to reduce asthma and pollution.
The Asthma Danger Zone Map is based on data analytics of publicly-available health and pollution data and input from local community members.
Asthma Danger Zones are the places of high concentrations of the air pollutants documented to exacerbate asthma in the LA-LB Harbor region. During days of high pollution, asthma patients in these areas should wear a mask, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and stay indoors. Public health interventions and air quality remediation efforts should focus on improving the health of residents who live in or nearby the Asthma Danger Zones. (See "Asthma Danger Zones: Pollution Sources" Map for the pollution sources).
LA-LB Harbor communities with high rates of Asthma ED visits are located in or near the Asthma Danger Zones. Efforts to improve asthma management and reduce air pollution should focus on these areas with high asthma ED visits. (Asthma ED visits are measured per 10,000 people at the census tract level).
LA-LB Harbor communities exposed to one or more Asthma Danger Zones experience 37% more asthma ED visits than the Los Angeles County average. These communities in the Asthma Danger Zone exposures should be prioritized for air pollution reductions. (Asthma ED visits are compared with the number and location of the Asthma Danger Zones at the census tract level).
Asthma is the leading chronic illness that causes school absenteeism. In Los Angeles County, 58% of children with asthma have missed more than one day of school/daycare.
Over 80% of the schools in the LA-LB Harbor region have absenteeism rates above the Los Angeles County average. The majority of these schools are located in or near the Asthma Danger Zones. Schools with high absenteeism rates should step-up efforts to improve asthma management education and reduce pollution exposure for their students.
Los Angeles Unified School District, "Yes We Can Children’s Asthma Program", 2012.
California School Dashboard, "Chronic absenteeism rate for schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District", 2018-2019.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, “Los Angeles County Health Survey, 2015”.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, "Los Angeles County Health Survey Childhood Asthma Brief", May 2014.
Schools in the LA-LB Harbor region exposed to one or more Asthma Danger Zones have absenteeism rates 43% higher than Los Angeles County average. Pollution remediation efforts should target pollution sources near schools with high absenteeism rates. (LAUSD and LBUSD school absenteeism rates are measured by their proximity to the Asthma Danger Zones. Absenteeism rates from continuation schools were excluded from the analysis).
Of the 82 schools in the LA-LB Harbor region, 64 are located in areas where asthma emergency department visits are above the Los Angeles county average. Only 13 schools in the LA-LB Harbor region have absenteeism rates below the Los Angeles County average. Communities with high asthma ED visits and schools with high absenteeism rates should be prioritized for public health efforts to improve asthma management.
Air quality remediation efforts should reduce pollution at its source. The Asthma Danger Zones identify the largest sources of pollutants that are documented to exacerbate asthma in the LA-LB Harbor region. These pollutants include Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Ozone, and Particulate Matter 2.5.
Asthma Danger Zone pollution sources are categorized according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District's Community Emission Reduction Plan (SCAQMD-CERP) for Wilmington, Carson, and West-Long Beach. Pollution exposure fencelines based on published studies are identified for each pollution source category.
Pollution Source Categories:
The highest asthma ED rates in the LA-LB Harbor region are in areas exposed to truck highway traffic. (Pollution source location were measured with the Asthma ED rates at the census tract level).
Schools with the highest absenteeism rates are located near stationary pollution sources. (School absenteeism levels were measured by its location within the pollution source fenceline. Absenteeism levels from continuation schools were excluded from the analysis).
POLA-POLB activities are the largest source of pollutants documented to exacerbate asthma in the LA-LB Harbor region. Pollution activities include: ocean-going vessels, harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, locomotives, and heavy-duty vehicles.
Asthma Danger Levels for POLA-POLB activity are measured by the pollution levels of each POLA-POLB activity. The fenceline is 5.0 miles.
Refineries, oil and gas production facilities, electricity generation, cogeneration, and hydrogen plants are the second largest source of pollutants documented to exacerbate asthma in the LA-LB Harbor region.
Asthma Danger Levels for stationary sources are measured by the pollutant emission levels of each source. The fenceline is 1.5 miles for refineries and 0.5 miles for non-refineries.
Heavy duty trucks associated with goods transport on the highways are the third largest source of pollutants documented to exacerbate asthma in the LA-LB Harbor region.
Asthma Danger Levels for Truck Highway Traffic are measured by the volume of truck traffic at the highway corridors. The fenceline is 1.0 mile.
Truck idling - when a truck's engine is turned on, but the vehicle is not in motion - is a major source of the pollutants documented to exacerbate asthma in the LA-LB Harbor region.
Asthma Danger Levels for the Community-Identified Truck Idling Areas are measured by the census tract asthma rates of the identified location. The fenceline is 0.5 miles.
Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, November 2020
SCAQMD map of truck idling areas identified by the AB617 Community Steering Committee.
Transportation Research Record, “Diesel Truck Idling Emissions”, 2007.