Some Residents in San Joaquin Valley at Higher Risk for Health Issues
In the San Joaquin Valley, more than one million people are at high risk for illness and shortened life spans because of their low-income status, pesticides, and polluted air and water, according to a report from the UC-Davis Center for Regional Change, the Fresno Bee reports.
For the three-year study, researchers sought to identify cumulative health risks in the region (Grossi, Fresno Bee, 11/15). Researchers mapped pollution sources using public records and compared the data with demographic information such as race and ethnicity, income level and education level.
Researchers said the study is the first in the region to connect the collective effects of environmental hazards and povertyÂ to health issues.
Researchers found thatÂ one-third of the region's four million residents face "extreme" levels of environmental hazards such as toxic air or polluted water.
According to the study, social factors -- such as education level and poverty -- increase residents' risk for health problems.
Researchers found that the effects of pollution are clustered in rural areas, such as Arvin and Wasco, and in urban centers, including Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto.
Jonathan London -- lead author of the study and director of the Center for Regional Change at UC-Davis -- said the areas affected most by pollution emitters tend to be populated by residents who have the fewest resources to address the issue (Nguyen, New America Media, 11/16).
London said local, regional and state officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should use the study to prioritize community improvements (Fresno Bee, 11/15).
He said the report's findings also should be used to help bolster cooperation among agencies and spur action in communities that haveÂ critical needs (New America Media, 11/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.