By Miriam Raftery
“The threat of acquiring the respiratory illness extends to residents living near expansive construction sites. That risk is rising given the scope of the renewable energy boom centered in the state.” – Los Angeles Times
May 6, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Valley Fever has sickened 28 workers at two large-scale solar facilities under construction in San Luis Obispo County, the Los Angeles Times reported on April 30. The disease is contracted by breathing in fungal spores released when desert soils are disturbed.
The finding is the latest in a series of disturbing reports on epidemic Valley Fever conditions in California and across the Southwest. With numerous large-scale solar projects and wind projects proposed for East County that would scrape bare thousands of acres of high desert terrain, public health concerns over the prospect of exposing residents to Valley Fever are growing. Since wind-blown spores can carry 75 miles or more, residents across San Diego County could be at risk of the potentially deadly disease.