LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Federal regulators will install four monitors to test air pollution levels near freeways in Southern California and study the impact of vehicle exhaust.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the tests could shed light on potential health risks to an estimated one million Southland residents who live within 300 feet of a freeway.

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Starting in January, two of the four air pollution monitors will be installed along the 10 Freeway in the Inland Empire and along the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana. The monitoring devices will study the impacts of pollution on neighborhoods directly adjacent to freeways both in Los Angeles and nearly 100 major U.S. cities.

A 2008 Cal State Fullerton study of L.A., Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties found 3,052 deaths and 2,300 hospital admissions attributed to vehicle exhaust pollution. Among the health risks identified are asthma, bronchitis, low birth weight, autism and lung and brain cancers.

“What are we going to do about siting new homes and new schools next to freeways?” said Angela Johnson Meszaros, general counsel for Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles (PSRLA), one of the groups that sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the upcoming monitoring.

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“We sued, demanding that the EPA require those monitors so we can start making movement toward cleaning up the air,” said Meszaros.

East L.A. resident Jeannette Soriano, who lives within 300 feet of a freeway, supports the study.

“We need to monitor these areas because we need the information, we need the data to then make changes,” said Soriano.

Many believe the monitors will show higher pollution levels, prompting the EPA to issue new regulations, including stricter restrictions on emissions.

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“We will not be able to meet the new federal particulate standard right away,” said Sam Atwood of the Air Quality Management District (AQMD). “We will have to work out additional emission reduction strategies.”