With funding from California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Professor Justin Remais’ group in Environmental Health Sciences at UC Berkeley has launched new research into the environmental health hazards associated with climate change in California, with a focus on disparities in potential hazardous exposures among California’s diverse populations. The project will focus on the impacts of extreme precipitation and flooding, and will examine the potential for chemical releases associated with a more variable climate in the State. Researchers in Professor Remais’ group will estimate flood risks in California associated with past, present, and future climate conditions, and will examine the distribution of potential hazardous releases from facilities located in flood-prone areas in the presence of extreme precipitation, inundation, or storm surges.
The research will focus on communities in California that are low-income, have larger pollution burdens, and have population characteristics — including poverty, linguistic isolation, and asthma rates — that are associated with higher environmental exposures or risks, particularly among susceptible subpopulations such as children, elderly, or individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
The researchers aim to contribute to resilience planning efforts by communities in California where industrial and commercial facilities may be impacted by climate, and where adaptation strategies and infrastructure may be developed to increase population resilience.