30 April, 2013

How Bad is Pollution Palo Alto? See What New State Figures Say

How Bad is Palo Alto Pollution? See What New State Figures Say
State officials have released figures on every zip code in the state showing which communities are most at risk from pollution. See how Palo Alto and other Silicon Valley cities rank.
How at risk are Palo Alto residents from pollution compared to other cities in the state?  According to the state officials, most neighborhoods are on par with the average California town.
Based on new state figures released this week, three of Palo Alto's four zip codes are in the middle of California zip codes in terms of being at potential for health risks stemming from pollution of all sorts.. The town's 94301 and 94306 both rank slightly above average in the 51 to 55 percentile of all California zip codes while 94303 fares a little worse in the 41 to 45 percentile.
But zip code 94303—the part of Palo Alto that straddles Highway 101, is closest to the bay and includes East Palo Alto—rated far worse. Those neighborhoods were in the 16 to 20 percentile of California zip codes.
See a map of the data for every town in the state here
The figures come from a new state report issued by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) that compiles health risks based on 11 types of pollution and factors in seven categories of population and demographic factors, including poverty and education levels.
The purpose of the report is to identify communities that are eligible for grants from the state's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, according to Sam Delson, an OEHHA spokesman. The law governing that fund mandates certain percentages be spent on disadvantaged communities, making it necessary to include economic factors in the state report.
Unfortunately for Palo Alto, only cities that rank in the bottom 10 percent will qualify.
The state has a map of those communities that are eligible on the report website.
The map above shows scores from each of those categories as well as overall rankings for every zip code in California with a Patch publication. Simply click on any town to see the full report card for each zip code.
You can see a similar map showing every zip code in the state here, and see more details of the report on the state's website.
In general, Palo Alto fares poorly on traffic metrics as well as in the ground water and hazardous waste categories. The city did well in education metrics and on certain air quality metrics such as ozone pollution.

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