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Most Soot Pollution: San Joaquin Valley

The federal government says the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles area have the highest levels of soot pollution in the nation.

The Environmental Protection Agency made the announcement Friday as it targeted 13 of the state´s counties for failing to meet new air quality standards. The E-P-A says San Diego is the only other region out of compliance in the state, but its problems are not nearly as dire as those to the north.

The new regulations aim to curb microscopic particles that can lodge deep in the lungs and cause respiratory problems, heart ailments and even death. Under the new regulations, the state has three years to develop a cleanup plan and another three years to clear the air.

The E-P-A says the main sources of soot are road dust, agricultural fires and fireplaces.