Rosa Vaquera lives in Barrio Logan and is a single mother of four children. According to CalEnviroScreen, Rosa’s community ranks in the top 25 percent of census tracts for pollution impact, including a high risk for asthma. Rosa and her daughter Ximena both suffer from asthma. Ximena’s is an extreme type of asthma that prevents her from playing outdoors as frequently as other children her age. At the same time, Rosa and Ximena’s asthma was also being aggravated indoors.
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Healthy Homes Assessment
In 2018, Rosa attended a community-based EHC workshop on the air quality and monitoring at Perkins Elementary School. After the workshop, she filled out an intake form expressing interest in a Healthy Homes Assessment, and a possible indoor air filter for her home. An assessment of Rosa’s home revealed that she did not open her windows for most of the day. This was mainly because of bad odors and loud noises common in her neighborhood.
The practice of keeping windows shut in her area is more accurately a result of air pollution and living in a neighborhood with an outdated community plan. The 1978 Barrio Logan community plan permits mixed land use zoning, allowing polluting industries and businesses to operate in residential areas, often much too close to homes and schools. Rosa and Ximena live next door to such industries.
During the Healthy Homes Assessment, EHC learned that Ximena would have asthma attacks on a monthly basis, often at night. In an attempt to improve air circulation, Rosa would open windows, but only in the kitchen and not in the living room or children’s bedrooms. This created poor air circulation, especially in Ximena’s small, shared room where the window always remained closed. Rosa also regularly hired friends to clean her house when her family was not home due to their extreme sensitivity to toxic cleaning supplies.
Living in a Healthier Home
Rosa has implemented many of the recommendations given to her after EHC’s Healthy Homes Assessment. These include having most of the windows open to improve air circulation, use of non-toxic cleaning solutions, and turning on her stove fan while cooking. EHC determined that Rosa’s home qualified to receive indoor and outdoor air monitors and a Home IQ Air Filter. Both Rosa and Ximena are breathing much better because of living in a healthier home.
EHC is committed to improving the quality of life in our communities by fighting conditions that expose low-income communities of color to environmental hazards. We want Ximena to grow up healthy with clean air, regardless of where she lives.