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Research Reports


Clearing the Air: How Clean Air Is Possible and Affordable by 2013," International Sustainable Systems Research Center (ISSRC), February 2007

California's San Joaquin Valley suffers from some of the most dangerous air in the nation — a known environmental and public health problem for more than two decades. Clearing the Air: How Clean Air Is Possible and Affordable by 2013, a report by the International Sustainable Systems Research Center (ISSRC) and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, outlines an affordable and achievable road map to cleaning the valley's notoriously dirty air by 2013, the federal deadline to do so.

"Land of Risk, Land of Opportunity," U.C. Davis Center for Regional Change, November 2011.

This U.C. Davis report shows that of the 4 million people living in the San Joaquin Valley, one third live in neighborhoods or communities that face high degrees of environmental risk, such as air pollution; high degrees of social vulnerability, such as poverty; or BOTH. These are conditions that lead to increased health problems.

"Ambient Air Pollution Impairs Regulatory T-cell Function in Asthma," Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, August 2010.

The latest research, based on a nine-year study of children in Fresno, shows that fine particulate pollution is causing genetic damage that appears to be not only permanent but hereditary. Fine particulate air pollution damages the immune systems of San Joaquin Valley children by causing genetic mutations that result in reduced production of regulatory T-cells, and people with reduced T-cell counts suffer from asthma, severe allergies, gastrointestinal disease and diabetes type I at higher rates.

"The Impacts of Short-term Changes in Air Quality on Emergency Room and Hospital Use in California's San Joaquin Valley," Central Valley Health Policy Institute, California State University Fresno, June 2011.

Another recent study was funded by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Researchers at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute looked at emergency room trips and hospital admissions in Fresno and Kern counties for the first few days after high pollution episodes. They found increased incidences of both in the three days immediately following high levels of wintertime particulate pollution and summertime ozone pollution.

"The Benefits of Meeting Federal Clean Air Standards in the San Joaquin Valley and the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley Air Basins" report, California State University, Fullerton, November 2008.

The cost of air pollution in our Valley is more than $1,600 per person per year. This means we will save nearly $6 billion annually when the ozone and PM 2.5 standards are met. And, of course, the even more important savings cannot be expressed in financial terms: currenlty, almost every resident of our Valley regularly experiences pollution levels known to harm health and to increase the risk of early death; and 66 percent of our population is exposed to health-endangering annual average levels of fine particulates.

"State of the Air 2016," American Lung Association 2016.

The American Lung Association's State of the Air report for 2016 shows that of the top 25 U.S. cities with the highest levels of short-term particulate pollution, four out of the top five are in the Valley. And from Stockton, Modesto and Merced to Fresno, Hanford and Bakersfield, all placing in the top 25, this is truly a regional problem.

Place Matters for Health in the San Joaquin Valley, February 2012

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of how neighborhood differences in a range of social, economic and environmmental conditions are linked to health outcomes in the San Joaquin Valley. It finds that the conditions in low-income and non-white neighborhoods make it more difficut for people in these neighborhoods to live healthy lives.
A summary document is also available in English or Spanish.