Recent Study Finds Alarming Asthma Rates Near Southern California Ports

Almost 30% of households in West Long Beach, California are home to someone with asthma.  This heartbreaking statistic is among the findings of a recent study conducted by the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization, St. Lucy’s Catholic Church, and California State University, Long Beach.  29% of households surveyed are home to at least one adult that has asthma, and 18.9% are home to at least one child with asthma.  The number of childhood asthma cases dramatically increased with the length of time the child has lived in the neighborhood; a little over 80% of the childhood asthma cases were kids that have lived in the area longer than 6 years, while only 9% of the childhood asthma cases were kids that have lived in the area for less than 1 year.

Sadly, these findings are not surprising.  West Long Beach is surrounded by the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, the 710 freeway (which is a route for diesel-spewing trucks transporting cargo to and from the ports), and major oil refineries.  This community bears the brunt of the pollution from all of these sources, and this study is just one of many documenting the health problems this pollution causes. 

NRDC and our coalition partners have been fighting for years to clean up port operations, and will continue to do so.  While the Southern California ports have made significant progress, this study is yet another reminder that there is much more to do.         

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