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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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New Research: School Children and Air Pollution

Unequal exposure across Santa Clara County

Unequal exposure across Santa Clara County

Iris Stewart-Frey (ESS), together with coauthors Genevieve Clow ’18 (Environmental Science and Chemistry), Anne Graham ’19  (Environmental Science) and Chris Bacon (ESS) recently published a paper on “Disparateair quality impacts from roadway emissions on schools in Santa Clara County (CA)

Genevieve Clow
Anne Graham

The authors used GIS to ask whether the exposure to high concentrations of vehicle exhaust is equally distributed for schools in Santa Clara County (SCC).  Car exhaust is linked to many negative health outcomes such as asthma and heart and lung diseases. Results from the study suggest that schools in SCC are exposed to high levels of air pollution from roadways at a rate that is higher than the national average. At the same time, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and receiving aid are more likely to be educated in schools with elevated levels. The authors propose mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of exposure to car exhaust for school children.

The work was supported by the Mapping Health Initiative funded by the DeNardo Education and Research Foundation.

Genevieve Clow’s work as a research assistant propelled her to a highly competitive NASA Develop fellowship, where she investigated the feasibility of incorporating remote sensing into lake water quality monitoring practices, followed by an internship with ESRI (the principle GIS software provider). After spending some time working on spatial data visualization and analysis capabilities for an ocean data science startup, she is now beginning graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she will work on remotely sensing the distribution of phytoplankton, the largest contributor to ocean productivity. Anne Graham currently serves as an AmeriCorps fellow in environmental education at UC Davis’ Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

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