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UCLA researchers to study health impacts of oil field in LA County

UCLA researchers will lead a study assessing the health impacts of the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the country. (Caden Fincke/Daily Bruin)

By Caroline Sha

July 10, 2021 1:56 p.m.

UCLA researchers will immediately begin leading a study on the health impacts of local oil drilling, in partnership with the LA County Department of Public Health.

The researchers will study the communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field, including Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights and View Park/Windsor Hills. The Inglewood Oil Field is the largest urban oil field in the country and 2.5 to 3.1 million barrels of oil have been produced per year for the past decade, according to Sentinel Peak Resources, the company that operates in the oil field.

More than 1 million people live within the surrounding communities, a majority of whom are Black or Latinx, according to the press release.

The assessment will examine how residential distance from the Inglewood Oil Field is linked to negative health impacts, including infant mortality, asthma and cancer, according to the press release published June 21.

The UCLA-led assessment follows another study on the Inglewood Oil Field communities, conducted by environmental consulting firm MRS Environmental and completed in 2020.

The Inglewood Oil Field contains 675 active oil wells located near public and residential buildings including hospitals, parks, schools, homes and religious institutions.

The Inglewood Oil Field communities are some of the highest-income Black communities in the country but are disproportionately affected by a lack of regulation on the polluting industries, according to the press release.

LACDPH initiated the assessment to fill the gaps in data on the Inglewood Oil Field communities’ health risks due to oil drilling and improve residents’ long-term health outcomes, according to the press release.

LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said in the press release that she hoped this assessment would shed light on the often-ignored impacts of oil drilling on vulnerable communities and improve the health and livability of the districts she oversees.

A final report on the assessment’s findings is expected to be published in 12 to 18 months, according to the press release.

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