Latinos and African Americans make up a disproportionately high percentage of the population of California ZIP Codes most burdened by pollution, according to a report released Friday by state environmental officials.
Latinos account for nearly two-thirds of residents in the top 10% most polluted ZIP Codes despite making up only 38% of the state’s population, the analysis by the California Environmental Protection Agency shows.
Nearly 10% of residents of the most polluted ZIP Codes are black, though they make up only 6% of the population statewide, according to the report. Whites, in contrast, are more than 40% of the state’s population but only 16% of residents of the most polluted ZIP Codes.
The findings came as part of a statewide environmental health assessment released last year.
The online screening tool, called CalEnviroScreen, uses 2010 Census data and environmental, health and socioeconomic indicators to score and map ZIP Codes by their pollution burden and vulnerability to environmental hazards, including traffic pollution, hazardous sites, pesticide use and contaminated water. It shows the 10 worst-scoring ZIP Codes are in Los Angeles County and the San Joaquin Valley.