Millions of Americans live in neighborhoods where high levels of toxic air pollutants greatly increase their risk of cancer, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report to be released Wednesday.
People in the nearly 600 neighborhoods have a more than 100 in 1 million risk of cancer, compared to the national average risk of 36 in 1 million.
"If we are in between 10 in 1 million and 100 in 1 million, we want to look more deeply at that. If the risk is greater than 100 in 1 million, we don't like that at all ... we want to investigate that risk and do something about it," Kelly Rimer, an environmental scientist with the EPA, told the Associated Press.
The highest cancer risk in the nation -- 1,200 in 1 million and 1,100 in 1 million -- are in parts of Los Angeles, Calif., and Madison County, Ill., according to the EPA. Two neighborhoods in Allegheny County, Pa., and one in Tuscaloosa, Ala., had the next highest rates of cancer risk from air toxins.
The lowest risk levels are in Coconino County, Ariz., and Lyon County, Nev., the EPA said. The lowest levels of toxic air pollution are in Kalawao County, Hawaii, and Golden Valley County, Mont., the AP reported.