Preterm birth in California: The association with coal and oil power plant retirements

Lecture | January 30 | 3-4 p.m. | 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

 Joan Casey

 Public Health, School of

Much of my work has relied on spatial data to study the relationship between environmental hazard exposures and health outcomes during the perinatal period, including links with fossil fuel extraction activities (i.e., natural gas fracking) and use (i.e., coal power plants). While coal and oil electricity generation has declined, coal still accounted for 30% of U.S. electricity in 2016. Coal and oil power plant retirements have been shown to reduce local air pollution levels, allowing us to leverage these natural experiments to assess associations between retirements and geographically proximate birth outcomes. Between 2001-2011, eight coal and oil power plants retired in California. Using California Department of Public Health birth records, we spatially and temporally linked births to these eight retirements. I will present the results of this study and discuss environmental justice and policy implications of my research and conclude with future directions