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In the wide-open spaces of southwest Fresno County, living in Lanare (population 590) is deceptively risky. People in Lanare's ZIP code die a decade sooner than those in the Woodward Park area of northeast Fresno, according to a Fresno State study released last year.
From the Hyde Park mound in West Fresno, you can see the city landscape quickly go from residential to industrial park. You can smell it, too. The California Environmental Protection Agency says people in West Fresno live with higher health risks than anyone in California.
Maria Saucedo cried as she spoke of the two babies she has lost in Kettleman City -- one to birth defects and the other in a miscarriage. There's no proof, but she blames the toxic landscape surrounding her town. She and others who have suffered in Kettleman City say they live in a nasty soup of pollution.
Hazardous waste, treated human sewage and farm chemicals are part of a dumping ground culture surrounding the San Joaquin Valley, but other deadly health risks slip under the radar.