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Public Health and Dust

The disappearing Salton Sea: A critical reflection on the emerging environmental threat of disappearing saline lakes and potential impacts on children’s health. Available from: j.scitotenv.2019.01.365. PubMed PMID: 30738261. pdf.pdf


  • Improved understanding of the composition and toxicity of contaminated airborne particles from drying lakes, like the Salton Sea, as well as the geographic scope of the dust emissions, is critical to understanding and addressing the potential environmental health impacts in the region.
  • Resources to rapidly deploy dust management measures coupled with meaningful collaboration across agencies, government and the community residents may facilitate development of both mitigation and adaptive measure to the changing environment.
  • Participatory forms of decision making and governance with respect to disaster and environmental health, can support multi-stakeholder dialogue, empower communities in social action and generate collective knowledge to build resiliency and improve public health.

The community needs a better understanding of the pollution from the lakes such as the Salton Sea. Understanding these issues will help when addressing Environmental Health topics in the Eastern Coachella Region. The community needs more resources that will help with the measurement of pollution. This can be in collaboration with agencies, the government and the community. The community has to be empowered and gaining knowledge when making the decisions on the improvements of public health in their region.

Indoor Mold and Asthma

Asthma Risk Associated with Indoor Mold Contamination in Hispanic Communities in Eastern Coachella Valley, California. Available from: 10.1155/2018/9350370. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30410546; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6205096. file.pdf


  • Home maintenance and repair are critical to preventing mold growth. Also, “swamp coolers” are common in ECV housing, and they work by bringing humidified air into the home. If swamp coolers are not well maintained, they can lead to excess moisture and mold growth.
  • Mold contamination, measured as ERMI values, appears to be correlated with conditions in the home related to occupant asthma. These results provide evidence that conditions in Mecca and Coachella City homes are conducive to an increased risk of asthma/respiratory illness and emphasize the need to improve the environmental conditions in homes

Because mold growth is common in the ECV, many houses have “swamp coolers”. It is important to maintain and repair these coolers to help with the humidity. If they are not being maintain there will be excess of moisture and mold growth. There is evidence of mold contamination in the houses of ECV and because of this there are issues with asthma and respiratory illness in the region.

Selenium and Particulates

The Effect of a Receding Saline Lake (The Salton Sea) on Airborne Particulate Matter Composition. Available from: 10.1021/acs.est.7b01773 PubMed PMID:28697595 file_.pdf


  • These data reveal that Se (Selenium) dynamics at Salton Sea need to be further investigated, as volatilization pathways may be stronger than previously estimated. These findings may have implications for the Salton Sea restoration plans.
  • Future PM source apportionment studies need to resolve the contributions of playa areas during high mass events, as these contributions will likely be increasingly more important as the Salton Sea recedes and shoreline exposures grow in extent.
  • Results provide evidence for a relatively strong impact of playa on PM Na (Sodium) concentrations and PM10 mass loadings. Such emissions could influence downwind biogeochemical and atmospheric processes and affect ecology and meteorology in downwind regions. It is essential to determine PM compositional shifts and estimate the impact of playa exposures on PM concentration due to changes in lake size.


Hydrogen sulfide production and volatilization in a polymictic eutrophic saline lake, Salton Sea, California. Available from: S0048969708007687 PubMed PMID: 18760446 pdffile.pdf


  • Restoration of the Salton Sea represents a tremendous challenge but a recommendation to improve water and air quality.
  • Recent modeling studies suggest that a marine smaller sea near the current depth would experience stronger and more persistent stratification. The potential for increased stratification, combined with continual production of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia from decomposition of organic materials and release from the sediments, could have significant impacts on future water quality, aquatic organisms, and restoration effectiveness.

The restoration of the Salton Sea will be a challenge, but it will help with the improvement of water and air quality. Because the Salton Sea is a small marine area, the increase of the emission will have significant impacts on its marine life and restoration.

Water Import / Export

The Salton Sea Import and Export infogram

  • The Sea-to-Sea water importation plan is a popular proposal but would require huge expenses of energy and money. The proposal wouldn't be finished until 2045. The Pacific Institute has a video and webpage explaining the challenges behind this proposal.


  • We recommend incorporating local communities in short- and medium-term plans now for Salton Sea dust mitigation and public health related projects. The long term planning is necessary, but should not distract from the urgency of community engagement and empowerment.

The community needs to be involved in the short and medium term plans for the Salton Sea and its public health projects.

Asthma in Children near a Drying Saline Lake

Assessment of Respiratory Health Symptoms and Asthma in Children near a Drying Saline Lake

Asthma in Children

Residents of the Imperial Valley, a rural, agricultural border region in California, have raised concerns over high rates of pediatric asthma symptoms. Results indicate an overall asthma prevalence of 22.4% and respiratory symptoms and allergies were widely reported, including wheezing (35.3%), allergies (36.1%), bronchitic symptoms (28.6%), and dry cough (33.3%).

salton_sea.txt · Last modified: 2019/10/30 20:45 by jgaio