The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is announcing a second Health Assessment and Environmental Justice Study for the Inglewood Oil Field communities. The assessment will be led by a research team at UCLA, who will develop and implement the two-pronged assessment taking into consideration residential distance from oil fields to better understand the impact of oil field operations on community health.
The assessment protocols and materials will be developed in conjunction with Public Health and will be reviewed by a Community Advisory Board. Findings of the assessment will be summarized in a final report to be made available to the public upon completion.
“After decades of oil drilling, the negative health impacts on nearby residents, who are disproportionately Black and Brown, must be fully examined, and I applaud this important partnership between LA County Department of Public Health and UCLA,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, whose district includes the communities of Baldwin Hills, View Park/Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, and Culver City. “The oil drilling in Baldwin Hills is an issue of health equity and environmental justice that acutely impacts the Black community. The full spectrum of oil drilling-related health impacts on vulnerable communities have been neglected for far too long. I look forward to seeing the results of this study and continuing to improve the health and livability of the neighborhoods in my district.”
“This complex assessment and analysis requires a very specific expertise, which the UCLA team brings to the table,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH. “Public Health looks forward to sharing this information to inform efforts to reduce negative health outcomes for the residents in these nearby communities, including higher rates of infant mortality, asthma and cancer.”
The communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field, including Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, and View Park/Windsor Hills, are among the most affluent Black communities in America, with high median education and employment levels. Nevertheless, residents in these predominantly Black communities suffer disproportionately from the effects of disparate standards and lax regulatory controls on polluting industries.
Health and safety mitigation measures at existing oil production sites vary, with some facilities, such as those in Beverly Hills, being subject to stricter design and mitigation measures imposed by state and local regulatory agencies. However, many others have not been required to conduct health risk assessments or other environmental studies. This new assessment seeks to close the data gap and support better long-term health outcomes for residents in the adjacent communities.
There are 675 active wells in the Inglewood Oil Field, which is adjacent to schools, homes, hospitals, parks, and faith institutions. Located in the Greater Baldwin Hills and Culver City areas, the Inglewood Oil Field is the largest urban oil field in the nation. Over one million people live within five miles of its boundaries, most of whom are Black and Latinx.
Public Health released Work Order Solicitation Number EVAL-WOS-34 on February 4, 2021 for the Baldwin Hills Health Assessment and Environmental Justice Study. Work will begin immediately and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete. For further information on the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District and Community Advisory Panel, see https://planning.lacounty.gov/baldwinhills.