International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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.
Shamasunder, Bhavna; Collier-Oxandale, Ashley; Blickley, Jessica; Sadd, James; Chan, Marissa; Navarro, Sandy; Hannigan, Michael; and Wong, Nicole J, "Community-Based Health and Exposure Study around Urban Oil Developments in South Los Angeles." (2018). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Contributions. 71.