Cal Enviroscreen

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‘Cal Enviroscreen’ Ranks Zip Codes Statewide By Pollution

New Screening Tool Provides Broad Snapshot of Total Environmental Burden

Factory in West Fresno. (Sasha Khokha/KQED)

A factory in West Fresno. (Sasha Khokha/KQED)

It’s the first environmental health screening tool of its kind in the country.

California’s Environmental Protection Agency is rolling out “Cal Enviroscreen” which helps pinpoint communities that may be particularly vulnerable to pollution. And it’s not just for wonks. You can look up your own community. Cal Enviroscreen measures a broad range of pollutants and health indicators in every zip code across the state.

The most vulnerable community in the state? West Fresno, one of Fresno’s poorest areas. Other zip codes in the top ten include Bakersfield, Stockton and the Los Angeles-area communities of Vernon, Baldwin Park, and Boyle Heights.

Toxicologist Dr. George Alexeeff heads the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. He says California regulators have done a pretty good job of targeting individual pollution problems, like reducing diesel exhaust, or eliminating particular chemicals in drinking water.

But that kind of regulation doesn’t give a broad snapshot of the total environmental burden some communities face. Continue reading