Golden State Worriers
A large portion of the American are at risk of developing cancer from exposure to any of 32 common toxic chemicals, according to the first nationwide study of the toxins, released Friday by the U.S. EPA. About 200 million face roughly a 1 in 100,000 lifetime risk, while about 20 million people — many of them in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas — face a risk as high as 1 in 5,000, more than 100 times greater than what the EPA typically finds acceptable. The study looked at such contaminants as benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and butadiene, coming from sources ranging from cars to forests fires to industrial polluters. The EPA said it would use the data to help decide which sources of air pollution should be targeted for stricter control, but downplayed the dangers suggested by the report. Environmentalists, however, said the data should be taken as a call to action.