Environmental Justice has become a major issue in state policy, yet there remain important methodological gaps in the research on environmental justice in the state and there are significant challenges in producing the concept in a way that can both engage public trust and ensure a cost-efficient approach to identifying vulnerable communities. This project hones in on the ways in which air pollution continues to have a disparate impact on low-income communities and in particular communities of color.
Disparities in health status by race and income have been identified as a top public health priority in Healthy People 2010. While these disparities have many different causes, it is probable that differences in exposure to environmental hazards play an important role. Research on race, class, and other differences in exposures to toxics, however, varies widely in method, ranging from anecdotal and descriptive studies to rigorous statistical modeling that quantifies the extent to which race, class, and other factors explain disparities in environmental hazards and health risk among diverse communities. Environmental health and exposure indicators in these studies include measurements of proximity to emissions sources such as hazardous waste and large industrial facilities, exposure to specific substances such as pesticides and lead, exposures to outdoor air pollution and associated health risks, differences in regulatory enforcement, body burden measurements, and the distribution of environmental benefits due to regulatory implementation.
To fill the gap in research on exposure, the Cumulative Impacts (CI) tool is jointly being developed by Manuel Pastor, Jim Sadd (Occidental College), and Rachel Morello-Frosch (UC Berkeley) for the California Air Resources Board. A plethora of research has shown that air pollution is not evenly distributed across all Americans – but in fact low-income communities and people of color in general suffer the brunt of toxic air. Moreover, in the case of toxic air pollution from industrial facilities, people of color and low-income communities suffer from unequal exposure. After the landmark victory in 1994 in which President Clinton signed an Executive Order directing every federal agency to identify and rectify “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations”, the goal of this project is to hold government regulatory agencies, along with private companies, accountable to these standards.
CARB Seminar "Chair's Air Pollution Seminar Series"
Manuel Pastor, Ph.D., University of Southern California, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, and James Sadd, Ph.D., Occidental College
Air Pollution and Environmental Justice
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm PDT
Justice in the Air: Tracking Toxic Pollution from America's Industries and Companies to Our States, Cities, and Neighborhoods
By Michael Ash, James K. Boyce, Grace Chang, Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins, and Jennifer Tran[Ash, Boyce, and Chang are from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Pastor, Scoggins, and Tran are from the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California]
Cumulative Impacts in East Oakland: Findings from a Community-Based Mapping Study
Communities for a Better Environment