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The 2010 explosion and fire at the 'Pick Your Part' junkyard in Wilmington, CA took more than 30 hours to extinguish, releasing particulate matter, dioxins and heavy metals across neighboring communities.

Last month, I toured a scrap recycling facility as part of a weeklong conference put on by the Society of Environmental Journalists in New Orleans, Louisiana. As an Earthjustice employee who has written before about recycling’s dark side, I was curious to hear the industry’s take on the health impact of scrap recycling.

Child suffering from asthma.

There’s something in the air, and Kevin Hamilton knows it all too well. A respiratory therapist in the San Joaquin Valley, Hamilton has watched his patients and his family struggle with the effects of fine particle and ozone pollution for decades.

“They are convinced the air quality is affecting their health and so am I,” he said. “Their asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are acting up more.”

An industrial incinerator frames a church playground in Midlothian, Texas.

(First published in the Huffington Post.)

Joe Poole Lake is a popular destination for Dallas and Fort Worth residents looking for a weekend escape to the great outdoors. Lined with barbecue grills, hiking trails and sandy beaches, the 7,400-acre lake and its wooden welcome sign invite endless opportunities to relax and unwind.

Smog covers the city of Los Angeles.

California cities top an unfortunate list—the nation's worst places to breathe. The Golden State claimed all five of the top slots for the highest air pollution in the American Lung Association's 2014 State of the Air Report. Sadly, the report was nothing new. Los Angeles, and cities in the San Joaquin Valley like Bakersfield and Fresno, have been in the top five since the ALA started its annual reporting in 2000.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.