Our Work

Bay Area communities are not adequately protected from the harmful effects of exposure to air pollution.  Current regulation of public health risk ignores the overall impact of all such exposures – i.e., the cumulative effect of exposure to multiple pollutants from numerous sources over time.  Our goal is to assure better health for Bay Area residents through the adoption of enforceable measures to reduce cumulative air pollution, particularly in communities heavily burdened by pollution.  BAEHC also works to ensure the public’s access to information and to build community capacity to participate in regulatory decision-making. 

What We Want

To better protect the health of all Bay Area communities, especially those that are particularly vulnerable, we seek the following action by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District:

  • Adopt Cumulative Impact Criteria & Precautionary Approach.Adopt enforceable measures to evaluate, limit and reduce cumulative health risks.  Revise risk evaluation procedures to assess whether exposures may cause, contribute to, or exacerbate adverse cumulative health impacts for affected residents.  Re-define what is considered a “significant” risk to incorporate cumulative exposures.  Acknowledge the flaws of regulatory review when cumulative impacts are not considered.
  • Establish Pollution Caps/Limits.Limit air pollution levels by establishing caps in highly impacted areas, prioritizing communities with high risks or exposure levels, and areas where residents may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse health effects of pollution.  Adopt enforceable regulations to ensure caps are achieved.  Regulate and limit pollution from substantial indirect (“magnet”) sources. 
  • Promote Pollution Reduction & Prevention.Target high-risk sources for pollution reductions.  Encourage and support investment in less toxic alternatives.  Partner with industry to develop reduction plans.  Provide incentives to companies that transition to safer technologies and practices.
  • Prioritize High Impact Areas & Vulnerable Populations.Focus regulatory efforts on areas with high health risks and disparities, where residents are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pollution due to social, economic or other factors.  Invoke authority to establish special zones in areas impacted by heavy pollution.  Target enforcement in high-risk areas, and at problematic facilities. 
  • Meaningful Public Participation: Community Outreach & Involvement.Engage communities at every stage of decision-making and ensure that residents’ views are incorporated.  Conduct comprehensive outreach in accessible, understandable languages and formats.  Be responsive to community concerns and interests.  Provide residents a real opportunity to influence outcomes.

Assert Leadership, Initiate Collaboration, Innovation.Invoke authority to protect residents from the adverse impacts of accumulated exposures to pollutants, even where no model may exist.  Assert leadership and collaborate with local, regional and state regulatory agencies to safeguard community health and ensure that incompatible land uses are addressed and avoided.  Develop new strategies and adopt strong measures to reduce disparities and ensure strong health protections for all residents.

download this document in .pdf