California Watch’s Ali Winston writes that to increase awareness of both legacy and ongoing sources of toxins in their venerable neighborhood, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project is offering “toxic tours” of the area’s most polluted locations.
The tour focuses on the neighborhood’s industrial legacy and includes West Oakland’s own federal Superfund site, where a chemical company “left a deposit of cancer-causing vinyl chloride in the soil and groundwater” as well as the largest recycling smelter west of the Mississippi and the docks where lines of cargo ships and big rigs sit idling every weekday as they wait for containers to be loaded and unloaded.
In their series “Shortened Lives,” Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman profiled people from different (though nearby) ZIP codes, finding wide disparities in their expected life spans, based on where they live, their social status and the toll of chronic stress. The series explains the effect these disparities have on health care costs, as well as how they are caused and how they might be addressed. Bohan and Kleffman wrote about the project in a piece for AHCJ members and we have included additional resources for those interested in exploring disparities in health care in their own communities.