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California health

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Could regular use of ibuprofen help prevent Parkinson's disease? Answers and more from our Daily Briefing.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Why do two Central California cities top a new "most toxic" cities list? Plus more from our Daily Briefing.

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Medical pot purveyors can't escape the tax man, plus more from our Daily Briefing.

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A new study finds that stress doesn't have much effect on fertility treatment, plus more from our Daily Briefing.

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People living with diabetes in San Joaquin County may have cause for concern: The county ranks worst in the state for deaths caused by diabetes. Medical officials say the lack of education and resources are to blame.

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What is air pollution doing to our kids? If you live in L.A. County, and especially if you’ve driven back to the Los Angeles basin from somewhere else, you’ve seen it. A steely brown haze hangs over us for much of the year. We live in the smoggiest region in the United States (according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District), but for those raising children here it may not be top of mind. In some parts of the county, moms claw their way onto waiting lists for the “right” preschool while they are still pregnant. Concerns about finding the right neighborhood, the right school, about keeping kids away from gangs and drugs or getting them to turn off the Xbox and do some homework tend to take center stage. The air we breathe gets plenty of media coverage, but we tend to consider it more of an inconvenience than an emergency.

Yet at every stage of children’s lives – from their time in the womb until they’re ready to leave the nest – the pollution in the air impacts their health. 2010 California Health Journalism Fellow Christina Elston reports.

Picture of Michelle Levander

Boyle Heights is a neighborhood populated by restless souls. Its small houses, windows barred more often than not, hold within them stories of journeys and reinvention; these days, it’s Spanglish and café de olla served at a Formica table covered in flowered oilcloth. Before that, the kitchen conversation was sprinkled with Yiddish or Japanese, as earlier generations of immigrants made their mark on these streets. But who captures the stories in these days of diminished newsroom resources of this working class neighborhood? Who shares the yarns that help people feel, as one teenager told us recently, that "No estamos solos," that we are not alone? In a few months, we will have a chance to see what stories emerge from this Latino immigrant neighborhood of about 100,000, located a few miles east of downtown Los Angeles. And we will learn how the community responds to journalism written, not by outsiders, but by local youth writing "por la comunidad y para la comunidad "– for the community and by the community -- as Pedro Rojas, the executive editor of La Opinión, put it as we planned this venture in community journalism together.

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Cheap doesn't necessarily mean safe when it comes to powerful cleaning products. New America Media environmental editor Ngoc Nguyen reports on efforts by environmental justice advocates to educate low-income consumers about how to stay healthy while keeping clean.

Picture of Ngoc Nguyen

When Esther Gress walks down the aisles at the grocery or drug store, she surveys the wall of cleaning products critically: disinfectant sprays, bottles of bleach, the all-purpose stuff. The 34-year-old, who has cleaned homes for a living for the past five years, used to use toxic chemicals on the job. Now, she bypasses these products for cleaners she mixes up herself.

Picture of Patricia  Nazario

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the approach to special education is two-fold: Provide support and services and mix disabled children with the rest of the students. Cathy Harvey is a single mom who’s banking the system will help prepare her three special-needs sons for life in the real world.

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