People living near Los Angeles oil wells have less lung strength and capacity than average for the region, on par with living near a freeway, researchers found. The study involved 747 people living within 1,000 meters, 0.6 miles, of an oil well.
Bar chart showing the increasing impact on lung strength and lung capacity with closer proximity to oil wells.
Lung strength is how strongly a person can exhale. Lung capacity, shown here as the difference in forced vital capacity compared to average, is the amount of air a person can exhale after a deep breath. The average forced vital capacity for a healthy man is about 4,800 milliliters, and about 3,700 ml for a healthy woman.