Los Angeles communities like Cudahy, Boyle Heights and El Monte are among the top five percent most environmentally burdened in the state, and residents there are among the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of pollution, according to new data from state environmental agencies.
The information is in an interactive map called CalEnviroScreen, a tool that evaluates multiple pollution sources and other stressors in communities. It assigns each census tract a score, based on its exposure to pollution and various demographic and public health measurements.
It’s designed to identify disadvantaged communities in need of "environmental justice" grants and other investment opportunities, said Sam Delson, spokesman for the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. It's also intended to guide state agencies’ planning and decision-making regarding environmental laws and site cleanup activities, he said.
How does your community fare?
CalEnviroScreen shows many census tracts in east L.A. shaded in red and orange, indicating they are some of the most pollution-burdened and vulnerable in the state.
To measure an area's pollution burden, the tool considers 12 factors, including:
- air quality indicators, like ozone and PM2.5 ("fine" particulate matter) concentrations, and diesel PM (particulate matter) emissions
- drinking water quality and groundwater threats
- exposure to hazardous waste, cleanup sites and toxic releases from facilities
The tool also measures seven population and public health categories, including:
- poverty and unemployment
- linguistic isolation and educational attainment
- low birth-weight babies and asthma-related emergency department visits
These socioeconomic characteristics are factored into the score because research shows that pollution "can have a stronger effect on areas that have higher rates of these population burdens," Delson said.
The public can provide feedback on this draft version during a workshop on May 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Junipero Serra Building, 320 W. Fourth St., Los Angeles.
The 20 census tracts most vulnerable to pollution:
|9||6037206050||Central City East||Los Angeles|
|11||6019007100||West Selma||HWY 99 South of Fresno|
|13||6071001600||Ontario airport and neighborhood west||Ontario|
|15||6071005701||Stadium West/Carousel||San Bernardino|
|16||6037203100||El Sereno||Los Angeles|