[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper assesses whether the Clean Air Act and its Amendments have been equally successful in ensuring the right to healthful air quality in both advantaged and disadvantaged communities in the United States. Using a method to rank air quality established by the American Lung Association in its 2009 State of the Air report along with EPA air quality data, we assess the environmental justice dimensions of air pollution exposure and access to air quality information in the United States. We focus on the race, age, and poverty demographics of communities with differing levels of ozone and particulate matter exposure, as well as communities with and without air quality information. Focusing on PM2.5 and ozone, we find that within areas covered by the monitoring networks, non-Hispanic blacks are consistently overrepresented in communities with the poorest air quality. The results for older and younger age as well as poverty vary by the pollution metric under consideration. Rural areas are typically outside the bounds of air quality monitoring networks leaving large segments of the population without information about their ambient air quality. These results suggest that substantial areas of the United States lack monitoring data, and among areas where monitoring data are available, low income and minority communities tend to experience higher ambient pollution levels.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 06/2011; 8(6):1755-71. · 2.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a geographic information systems (GIS) methodology for evaluating the environmental justice implications of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Burden Reduction Rule, which was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2006 under the authority of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. This rule exempts industrial facilities meeting certain higher reporting thresholds from filing detailed reports about the quantities of chemicals used, released, or managed as waste. Our analytical approach examines demographic characteristics within a 1, 3, and 5 km buffer around a georeferenced facility location, applied on a national, regional, and state scale. The distance-based GIS analysis demonstrates that TRI facilities that are eligible for reduced reporting are more likely to be located in proximity to communities with a higher percentage of minority and low-income residents. The differences are more pronounced for percent minority and percent minority under age 5 in comparison to percent in poverty, and the demographic differences are more apparent at increasingly resolved geographic scales.
Environmental Science and Technology 09/2008; 42(15):5407-14. · 5.26 Impact Factor