TOXICS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT
My family and I lived in the toxic community of Autumnwood, in Wildomar, CA for more than 5 years. Because it was built on toxic soil we could not breathe the air inside our homes and suffered repeated bouts of pneumonia and pleurisy, bloody noses, tremors, bone and muscle pain, and more. At first, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) ignored our complaints. When DTSC did finally respond, they did everything in their power to obfuscate the truth.
Residents across California are fighting battles against toxic waste and its public health impacts where they live, work and attend school. Toxic chemicals and waste harm health and can lead to cancers, reproductive and developmental harms. All California communities should equally share the burden of toxic waste disposal for the state. Yet, the reality is host communities are more often than not low income communities and communities of color. They suffer from the accompanying environmental and health risks. These communities are fighting to reduce these toxic exposures in their own backyard, and create a more just system [for the entire state]. While there has been some success in individual campaigns, there is a long road ahead to the equitable management and treatment of toxic waste.
Currently, CRPE along with our allies are changing the framework of that fight by building a statewide collaborative effort to reform the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
In California, DTSC is the state agency tasked with overseeing hazardous waste management and clean-up. DTSC has systemically let down our most exposed communities in each of their main duties: permitting waste sites, enforcing waste laws and cleaning up contaminated waste sites.