A nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California’s policies and politics

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award winning multi-media journalist who will cover health and social services for CALmatters. She joins CALmatters from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she produced stories about community health. Her recent reporting revealed lead-tainted soil on school campuses near a former lead battery recycling plant that spurred district action. Previously Aguilera was a staff writer at the San Diego Union-Tribune where she covered immigration and demographics. There, she won a “Best of the West” award for her coverage of sex trafficking between Mexico and the United States. At the Denver Post, where Aguilera wrote about urban affairs and business, she was named a Livingston Award finalist for her reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Aguilera has also worked at the Orange County Register. She is a Marshall Memorial Fellow and an International Center for Journalists alum. She is also a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The L.A. native is a graduate of Pepperdine University and earned an MA in Specialized Journalism from the University of Southern California. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs.


A third of young California children at risk for lead poisoning are not being tested despite state and federal laws that require it, according to a new study—a problem at least partly addressed by legislation now on the governor’s desk.

When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water. Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead. Nor is this an isolated situation. Tests have turned up harmful levels of lead in water fountains and taps at other schools in San Diego and Los Angeles.

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