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Playing it safe: assessing cumulative impact and social vulnerability through an environmental justice screening method in the South Coast Air Basin, California.

Sadd JL, Pastor M, Morello-Frosch R, Scoggins J, Jesdale B - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2011)

Bottom Line: Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and state authorities like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have sought to address the concerns of environmental justice (EJ) advocates who argue that chemical-by-chemical and source-specific assessments of potential health risks of environmental hazards do not reflect the multiple environmental and social stressors faced by vulnerable communities.For hazard proximity, the EJSM uses GIS analysis to create a base map by intersecting land use data with census block polygons, and calculates hazard proximity measures based on locations within various buffer distances.The result is a cumulative impacts (CI) score for ranking neighborhoods within regions that can inform diverse stakeholders seeking to identify local areas that might need targeted regulatory strategies to address environmental justice concerns.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA 94001, USA. jsadd@oxy.edu

ABSTRACT
Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and state authorities like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have sought to address the concerns of environmental justice (EJ) advocates who argue that chemical-by-chemical and source-specific assessments of potential health risks of environmental hazards do not reflect the multiple environmental and social stressors faced by vulnerable communities. We propose an Environmental Justice Screening Method (EJSM) as a relatively simple, flexible and transparent way to examine the relative rank of cumulative impacts and social vulnerability within metropolitan regions and determine environmental justice areas based on more than simply the demographics of income and race. We specifically organize 23 indicator metrics into three categories: (1) hazard proximity and land use; (2) air pollution exposure and estimated health risk; and (3) social and health vulnerability. For hazard proximity, the EJSM uses GIS analysis to create a base map by intersecting land use data with census block polygons, and calculates hazard proximity measures based on locations within various buffer distances. These proximity metrics are then summarized to the census tract level where they are combined with tract centroid-based estimates of pollution exposure and health risk and socio-economic status (SES) measures. The result is a cumulative impacts (CI) score for ranking neighborhoods within regions that can inform diverse stakeholders seeking to identify local areas that might need targeted regulatory strategies to address environmental justice concerns.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Method for assessing hazard proximity for CI polygons.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3108119&req=5

f2-ijerph-08-01441: Method for assessing hazard proximity for CI polygons.

Mentions: The number and type of sources within each of these buffer distances was determined for every CI polygon; a similar procedure is done for all hazards represented as area features (e.g., airports, refineries, railroad tracks). We then utilized a distance-weighted scoring procedure where the influence of the hazards on the sum attached to the CI polygon diminishes with distance (Figure 2) as those places with proximity to numerous air quality hazards are assumed to be more highly impacted. We applied this tiered buffering approach rather than a continuous distance-weighting method to ensure that the hazard and land use scoring was transparent to community stakeholders. Using this method, the summed point totals for each CI Polygon in the Southern California area we examined ranges from 0 to 9.8.


Playing it safe: assessing cumulative impact and social vulnerability through an environmental justice screening method in the South Coast Air Basin, California.

Sadd JL, Pastor M, Morello-Frosch R, Scoggins J, Jesdale B - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2011)

Method for assessing hazard proximity for CI polygons.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3108119&req=5

f2-ijerph-08-01441: Method for assessing hazard proximity for CI polygons.
Mentions: The number and type of sources within each of these buffer distances was determined for every CI polygon; a similar procedure is done for all hazards represented as area features (e.g., airports, refineries, railroad tracks). We then utilized a distance-weighted scoring procedure where the influence of the hazards on the sum attached to the CI polygon diminishes with distance (Figure 2) as those places with proximity to numerous air quality hazards are assumed to be more highly impacted. We applied this tiered buffering approach rather than a continuous distance-weighting method to ensure that the hazard and land use scoring was transparent to community stakeholders. Using this method, the summed point totals for each CI Polygon in the Southern California area we examined ranges from 0 to 9.8.

Bottom Line: Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and state authorities like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have sought to address the concerns of environmental justice (EJ) advocates who argue that chemical-by-chemical and source-specific assessments of potential health risks of environmental hazards do not reflect the multiple environmental and social stressors faced by vulnerable communities.For hazard proximity, the EJSM uses GIS analysis to create a base map by intersecting land use data with census block polygons, and calculates hazard proximity measures based on locations within various buffer distances.The result is a cumulative impacts (CI) score for ranking neighborhoods within regions that can inform diverse stakeholders seeking to identify local areas that might need targeted regulatory strategies to address environmental justice concerns.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA 94001, USA. jsadd@oxy.edu

ABSTRACT
Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and state authorities like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have sought to address the concerns of environmental justice (EJ) advocates who argue that chemical-by-chemical and source-specific assessments of potential health risks of environmental hazards do not reflect the multiple environmental and social stressors faced by vulnerable communities. We propose an Environmental Justice Screening Method (EJSM) as a relatively simple, flexible and transparent way to examine the relative rank of cumulative impacts and social vulnerability within metropolitan regions and determine environmental justice areas based on more than simply the demographics of income and race. We specifically organize 23 indicator metrics into three categories: (1) hazard proximity and land use; (2) air pollution exposure and estimated health risk; and (3) social and health vulnerability. For hazard proximity, the EJSM uses GIS analysis to create a base map by intersecting land use data with census block polygons, and calculates hazard proximity measures based on locations within various buffer distances. These proximity metrics are then summarized to the census tract level where they are combined with tract centroid-based estimates of pollution exposure and health risk and socio-economic status (SES) measures. The result is a cumulative impacts (CI) score for ranking neighborhoods within regions that can inform diverse stakeholders seeking to identify local areas that might need targeted regulatory strategies to address environmental justice concerns.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus