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Jane R., CA

My husband and I moved to Los Angeles 5 months ago. I already knew one of the things I hated about this city was their car culture. We live so close to the highway, we can hear the traffic at all times.

A few weeks ago my husband thought he was dying; something didn't feel right. His heart started to act irregular for the first time, and he developed vertigo. His school physician said he was probably stressed although we both knew he was not stressed about school.

The irregular heart pounding comes and goes. He is constantly clearing his throat. He is dizzy on certain days. He suddenly has shortness of breath sitting in bed. It is starting to affect his mental well being as well.

When I read that this city ranked as the #1 polluted city in the country, it started to make sense that this city might be killing us physically. We can't afford to move away from the apartment we live in. The car culture is a serious problem that true Angelenos don't think about on a daily basis.

I am praying that we can survive the next few years without developing major health problems while my husband finishes his schooling. But I am worried, because we've only been here for 5 months and already he is suffering.

What are we doing to this planet and to ourselves by not drastically making changes?

First published: January 21, 2014

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