Sheldon James has called West Fresno home for 47 years. Monday's recent news has him scratching his head. "It's confusing. It's baffling and I want to get involved” says Sheldon James of West Fresno.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, West Fresno is now the riskiest place to live in California.
“Something to keep in mind with this scoring mechanism is that there are a lot of contributing factors involved” says Heather Heinkz with the Valley Air District.
Scientists blame dirty air, chemical exposure from nearby farms and widespread poverty as contributing factors.
“These research factors deal with socio-economic factors, income ethnicity income and education and then add that to our air quality and it's going to skew one way or another. In West Fresno's case it doesn't look good” says Heinkz.
The EPA found life expectancy for these people is 20 years lower than in any other area of Fresno.
“Obviously it's a variety of things but we are encouraged by it. Again, it brings conversation to the forefront and hopefully funding follows” says Heinkz.
Valley Air District says change is necessary.
“The good news is air quality is the best it's ever been and this type of information will drive research and more funding to the valley and to place like these environmentally disadvantaged areas” says Heinkz.
It's that support James hopes will save his home.
“Awareness, people talking about it I think something can happen something can come from it. I think there could be some changes” says James.
Financial Aid from the Greenhouse Gas Law is expected to raise funds for these disadvantaged communities throughout California.