‘She Coughs When She’s Sleeping’: Life In Polluted Pacoima

Michael Jerrett interviewed on KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)

By Caroline Champlin 

When Amanda Rivera was diagnosed with asthma as a child, everyone told her she’d grow out of it. Instead, Rivera feels like she grew into it.

“It just got worse as I got older,” Rivera said. “I’ve been to like so many doctors, specialists and no one has been able to get rid of the cough.”

For her whole life, Rivera has lived in the same house in the east San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Pacoima, a region with poor air quality in already smoggy L.A. county. Over the years, she’s accrued a tote bag-full of asthma equipment: daily inhalers, rescue inhalers, and nebulizer machines. For Rivera, asthma is just part of her routine.

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