California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool - CalEnviroScreen 3.0

Developed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment at the request of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), CalEnviroScreen is a science-based tool that identifies the California communities most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects. The tool uses existing environmental, health, demographic and socioeconomic data to create a screening score for communities across the state. Specifically, the tool uses data on 20 indicators covering pollution and population characteristics to create scores for each of the state’s 8,000 census tracts.

Identify communities in California that the state recognizes as disadvantaged based on environmental, health, and demographic data. 

The tool will be utilized to help implement SB 535, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, that requires that 25 percent of the proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions be invested in projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, including 10 percent for projects located within these areas. The law requires the to identify those communities. Pursuant to SB 535, CalEPA has used CalEnviroScreen to designate communities as disadvantaged to direct the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund proceeds.

Indicators that filter into the tool are wide ranging. It considers exposure indicators such as air quality and drinking water contaminates; environmental effect indicators such as hazardous waste facilities and solid waste sites; sensitive population indicators including age makeup and asthma rates; and socioeconomic indicators such as linguistic isolation, unemployment, and  housing burdens. 

Local and regional governments, including regional air districts, water districts and planning and transit agencies, may also find uses for this tool. CalEPA will continue to work with local and regional governments to further explore the applicability of CalEnviroScreen for other uses. This includes the possibility of helping to identify and plan for sustainable development opportunities in heavily impacted neighborhoods.

CalEnviroScreen aids the administration of the Agency’s Environmental Justice Small Grant Program, and guides other grant programs as well as environmental education and community programs throughout the state. The tool also helps to inform Agency boards and departments when they are budgeting scarce resources for cleanup and abatement projects. Additionally, CalEnviroScreen helps to guide boards and departments when planning their community engagement and outreach efforts.

CalEnviroScreen 1.0 was released in April 2013, and Version 1.1 was released in September 2013. Version 2.0  was released in November 2014 to include additional data along the US-Mexico border. Version 3.0 was released in January 2017 to include more recent data for all indicators, adjustment to how some indicators were calculated, new indicators reflecting health and socioeconomic vulnerability to pollution, more refined age analysis, and an updated scoring methodology. 


Publication Date: January 30, 2017

Related Organizations:

  • California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Mapping tool
  • Tool (general)

States Affected:


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