Environment and Health in Irwindale

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USC Price Center

Published in partnership with the USC Price Center for Social Innovation in support of the Neighborhood Data for Social Change platform (NDSC): The platform is a free, publicly available online data resource that provides reliable, aggregated data at the city, neighborhood, and census tract level. The mission of the USC Price Center for Social Innovation is to develop ideas and illuminate strategies to improve the quality of life for people in low-income urban communities.

Pollution and other environmental hazards damage not only our natural surroundings and climate, but can also negatively impact health outcomes and economic productivity.  A report by the Liberty Hill Foundation estimated that in California alone, air pollution causes 19,000 premature deaths, 280,000 cases of asthma symptoms, and more than 1 million respiratory-related school absences annually.

Furthermore, the American Lung Association consistently ranks the Los Angeles-Long Beach area as one of the most polluted places in the country, posing major health risks for our residents.  But what happens when an area ranks as one of the most polluted places in California without experiencing the correlated adverse health effects?

Durbin Rock Plant

Located at 13000 E. Los Angeles Street in Irwindale, Durbin Rock Plant produces asphalt, asphalt coatings (guardtop), base material, concrete aggregate, manufactured sand, and handles natural sand. | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

Irwindale

Irwindale is a small incorporated city in the San Gabriel Valley close to Baldwin Park and West Covina. The CalEnviroScreen 3.0, a 2017 report by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, ranked Irwindale in the top 99.9% for pollution burden in the state of California.

Pollution burden, measured on a scale of 1 to 10, accounts for factors like air quality, drinking water contaminants, hazardous and solid waste facilities, and traffic density. Learn more about the measure here.

Pollution Burden Scores:

  • Irwindale: 9.59
  • Baldwin Park: 7.20
  • Los Angeles County: 6.19

Explore Pollution Burden Scores in your neighborhood in the map below.

Irwindale’s high pollution rates don’t come as a surprise considering the small community’s role as a mining and industrial hub in Los Angeles.  The majority of the material making up Los Angeles’ vast freeway system has come…



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