Health

East Oakland foundry pollution spurs two lawsuits to protect community

The state of California and an Oakland-based environmental group are suing the pipe casting facility AB&I Foundry for reportedly emitting excessive levels of a carcinogenic chemical into East Oakland’s air.  Both lawsuits, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, accuse the foundry of violating California’s Proposition 65 — a law requiring businesses to warn people about significant exposures to harmful chemicals. The state’s lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Rob Bonta on Feb. 15, states that McWane Inc. operating as AB&I Foundry,…

Mushroom foraging becomes ‘a spiritual journey with nature’

Tony Alvarez pulled his SUV into the deserted parking lot before sunrise on a chilly January morning and unloaded two grocery bags, a jar and a backpack from his trunk as he waited for others to arrive.  It was 6:30 a.m. and he was expecting 15 people to join him for mushroom foraging in Tilden Park, an excursion people pay $100 to experience with Shroomy Walkabouts, a business  he started four years ago in the Bay Area. Participants arrived slowly,…

OUSD students on verge of strike over COVID-19 measures

With more than 800 student cases of COVID-19 in Oakland schools, students have threatened to go on strike this week unless the district does more to keep them and their teachers safe. Students petitioned the district last week for KN95/N95 masks for every student, twice-weekly coronavirus testing and more outdoor spaces where they can eat when it rains. They plan to stay home this week and strike outside district headquarters on Friday if their demands aren’t met this week, according…

As overdoses hit crisis point, groups respond with free tests, Narcan and other life-saving help

Jesse Foley-Tapia and Andrew Lopez As the sun set on a November day, Blue and her friend Seb prepared to go to a Mission district club in San Francisco. Blue had bought some ketamine and they agreed to bring it with them. Knowing there might be fentanyl in the drug, they decided to stop at Seb’s home in Oakland to use a fentanyl test strip.  They mixed a pinch of ketamine with an ounce of water, stuck the detection end…

New filtration program is step toward cleaner air for West Oakland residents

Shortly after Brian Beveridge moved to West Oakland in 1999, he noticed a greasy layer of black soot building up on his window shades and tabletops. It wasn’t hard to figure out where it came from, with diesel trucks from nearby industries driving through the neighborhood and expelling pollution into the air that residents were breathing.  Now, over two decades later, Beveridge is co-director for the nonprofit West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, where he works to provide solutions for West…

Union members walk out of Kaiser Permanente to support engineers on strike for 62 days

More than 40,000 Kaiser employees and members of three local unions walked out at 21 Kaiser hospitals across Northern California on Thursday in support of striking stationary engineers.  On Friday, the California Nurses Association will follow suit. “Every single worker in our health care system, including the engineers who are on strike, deserve to have fair working conditions and a union contract,” said Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, who came to show solidarity with the International Union of…