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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010138

Community-Based Health and Exposure Study around Urban Oil Developments in South Los Angeles

1
Urban and Environmental Policy Department, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314, USA
2
Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0427, USA
3
Center for Digital Liberal Arts, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314, USA
4
Geology Department, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314, USA
5
Esperanza Community Housing, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA
6
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0427, USA
7
Redeemer Community Partnership, Los Angeles, CA 90018, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 9 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract

Oilfield-adjacent communities often report symptoms such as headaches and/or asthma. Yet, little data exists on health experiences and exposures in urban environments with oil and gas development. In partnership with Promotoras de Salud (community health workers), we gathered household surveys nearby two oil production sites in Los Angeles. We tested the capacity of low-cost sensors for localized exposure estimates. Bilingual surveys of 205 randomly sampled residences were collected within two 1500 ft. buffer areas (West Adams and University Park) surrounding oil development sites. We used a one-sample proportion test, comparing overall rates from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) of Service Planning Area 6 (SPA6) and Los Angeles County for variables of interest such as asthma. Field calibrated low-cost sensors recorded methane emissions. Physician diagnosed asthma rates were reported to be higher within both buffers than in SPA6 or LA County. Asthma prevalence in West Adams but not University Park was significantly higher than in Los Angeles County. Respondents with diagnosed asthma reported rates of emergency room visits in the previous 12 months similar to SPA6. 45% of respondents were unaware of oil development; 63% of residents would not know how to contact local regulatory authorities. Residents often seek information about their health and site-related activities. Low-cost sensors may be useful in highlighting differences between sites or recording larger emission events and can provide localized data alongside resident-reported symptoms. Regulatory officials should help clarify information to the community on methods for reporting health symptoms. Our community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership supports efforts to answer community questions as residents seek a safety buffer between sensitive land uses and active oil development. View Full-Text
Keywords: oil and gas development; urban oil drilling; cumulative impacts; environmental justice; community-based participatory research; health survey; low-cost sensors; methane oil and gas development; urban oil drilling; cumulative impacts; environmental justice; community-based participatory research; health survey; low-cost sensors; methane
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Shamasunder, B.; Collier-Oxandale, A.; Blickley, J.; Sadd, J.; Chan, M.; Navarro, S.; Hannigan, M.; Wong, N.J. Community-Based Health and Exposure Study around Urban Oil Developments in South Los Angeles. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 138.

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