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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

Air pollution exposure and health risk quintile scores at the tract level (mapped on CI polygons)—SCAQMD.
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f4-ijerph-08-01441: Air pollution exposure and health risk quintile scores at the tract level (mapped on CI polygons)—SCAQMD.

Mentions: The geographic distribution of the Health Risk and Exposure scores (Figure 4) is less complex, but with a clear concentric pattern with little fine-scale variation with broad areas with a single score. Areas with the highest scores surround heavily industrialized areas, including central and East Los Angeles, the Alameda corridor connecting downtown to the ports along the 710 transportation (truck, rail, freeway) corridor, and the industrial centers in Baldwin Park and east of Ontario International Airport. Coastal and foothill neighborhoods are characterized by low scores, and the apparent effects of the freeway system on the overall pattern are minor. This pattern is similar to the results of the MATES III (Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study) project which evaluated and mapped health risks associated with air toxics and diesel particulates using the SCAQMD emissions inventory and monitoring programs [40] even though the MATES analysis is done at a much coarser level of spatial resolution, and includes mapping across all land use types. This suggests that this metric category of the EJSM is consistent with other screening approaches; the innovation here is combining this with other dimensions as well as the adoption of a more transparent and community-engaged approach to developing the EJSM.


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)

Air pollution exposure and health risk quintile scores at the tract level (mapped on CI polygons)—SCAQMD.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f4-ijerph-08-01441: Air pollution exposure and health risk quintile scores at the tract level (mapped on CI polygons)—SCAQMD.
Mentions: The geographic distribution of the Health Risk and Exposure scores (Figure 4) is less complex, but with a clear concentric pattern with little fine-scale variation with broad areas with a single score. Areas with the highest scores surround heavily industrialized areas, including central and East Los Angeles, the Alameda corridor connecting downtown to the ports along the 710 transportation (truck, rail, freeway) corridor, and the industrial centers in Baldwin Park and east of Ontario International Airport. Coastal and foothill neighborhoods are characterized by low scores, and the apparent effects of the freeway system on the overall pattern are minor. This pattern is similar to the results of the MATES III (Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study) project which evaluated and mapped health risks associated with air toxics and diesel particulates using the SCAQMD emissions inventory and monitoring programs [40] even though the MATES analysis is done at a much coarser level of spatial resolution, and includes mapping across all land use types. This suggests that this metric category of the EJSM is consistent with other screening approaches; the innovation here is combining this with other dimensions as well as the adoption of a more transparent and community-engaged approach to developing the EJSM.

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