Mission Statement: Provide the highest level of safety, and protect public health and the environment from toxic harm.
That said, it has been shown that the people who are closest to the environmental harms – adults and children in EJ communities, for example, ‐‐ are the first to suffer ill effects from exposure to environmental toxins. And theirs are not one‐time injuries. They often are forced to live with impaired health. Their envi‐ ronment, health, quality of life and even life span in California are decidedly different from that of other Californians.6
DTSC EJ Enforcement Initiative Locations
In 2009, DTSC enforcement staff did Initiative work in Imperial County, East Oak‐ land, Pacoima, Wilmington, Maywood, San Bernardino/Riverside and the Fresno area. Each community has unique environmental burdens and health risks.
Imperial is the southernmost county in California and has the state’s highest rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations. Nearly 85% of these hospitalizations involve Latino chil‐ dren.7
The community of Wilmington is adja‐ cent to the Port of Los Angeles, and residents have complained for years about air pollution and respiratory illnesses. A study received in 2009 from the DELTA Group at the University of California in Davis showed the presence of lead and very fine metal particles in the air in Wilmington nearby a metal shredder that op‐ erates in the port.8 Lead is known to affect intellectual development in babies and ————————
6 For example, see the Bay Area Regional Health Inequi‐ ties Initiative’s 2008 report, “Health Inequities of the Bay Area” which states: “Most experts agree that health care contributes only 10%‐15% to health outcomes and life span. Where you live is probably a bigger determinant of your health than whether you have health insurance. People who live in West Oakland … can expect to live on average 10 years less than those who live in the Berkeley Hills.”
MAYWOOD/PACOIMA SAN BERNARDINO/RIVERSIDE
WILMINGTON IMPERIAL COUNTY
children, and medical studies show toxic ele‐ ments, especially very fine iron, can damage lungs of adults and children and contribute to high blood pressure and heart ailments.
San Bernardino County, home to major rail operations, has a densely populated neighborhood near a rail yard where the cancer risk is more than 2.5 times higher than for simi‐ larly situated neighborhoods in the state. 9
The Elmhurst neighborhood in East Oak‐ land is a predominantly African‐American area of small, older homes mixed with industry, auto re‐ pair shops, abandoned business sites and free‐ ways. East Oakland, as well as two adjacent zip codes close to the Port of Oakland, has the high‐ est heart disease death rate of the Bay area. 10
Despite the rural character of Fresno County and its neighboring communities in Cali‐ fornia’s Central Valley, air pollution is a key —————————
7 Border Asthma & Allergies Study Final Report at http:// www.ehib.org/projects/BASTA_FINAL_Sept2009.pdf.
9 California Air Resources Board Health Risk Assessment for the BNSF Railway San Bernardino Railyard, June 11, 2008.
8 UC‐Davis DELTA Group’s “Final Report: Deposition of Coarse Toxic Particles in Wilmington, CA” April 4, 2009, at http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/upload/ Terminal‐Island.pdf.
10See Oakland Tribune’s “Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters,” published December 12, 2009, at http:// www.insidebayarea.com/life‐expectancy.