Tom LaBonge

L.A. requires air filters to protect residents near freeways. Are they doing the job?

L.A. requires air filters to protect residents near freeways. Are they doing the job?

Despite growing warnings about the health problems tied to traffic pollution, Los Angeles officials continue to approve a surge in residential development along freeways. And the crux of their effort to protect people’s lungs is a requirement that developers install air filters.

But even the highest-quality filters capture only some of the dangerous ingredients of car and truck exhaust, and to be effective, experts say, they must be frequently replaced and the building’s ventilation system must run virtually full time with all doors and windows closed.

The city inspects new projects’ air-filtration systems, but the head of the Department of Building and Safety concedes that...

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