Calif. EPA Releases Updated Tool To Identify Areas With Environment-Related Health Issues
The California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has released an updated tool that ranks areas of the state based on 19 indicators of how vulnerable they are to health problems that are caused or exacerbated by the environment, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sacramento Bee, 4/27).
The tool -- known as the CalEnviroScreen map -- has been promoted as the first of its kind in the U.S.
It combines the environmental results with demographic measures -- such as age, poverty and rates of health problems -- to measure a community's risk for health problems related to environmental factors (California Healthline, 5/7/13).
Findings from the tool will be used to determine how the state distributes:
- Community planning grants; and
- Funding for greenhouse gas reduction.
The findings also will help determine which communities should be a priority for the enforcement of hazardous waste disposal (Sacramento Bee, 4/27).
Details of Update
Previous versions of the tool examined about 1,800 ZIP codes across the state and ranks them according to environmental quality measures. An updated version includes data for the state's 8,000 census tracts.
The updated version also includes new indicators for:
- Drinking water quality; and
- Unemployment rates (OEHHA Report, 4/21).