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CAFOs and environmental justice: the case of North Carolina.

Nicole W - Environ. Health Perspect. (2013)

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On the coastal plain of eastern North Carolina, families in certain rural communities daily must deal with the piercing, acrid odor of hog manure—reminiscent of rotten eggs and ammonia—wafting from nearby industrial hog farms... Today’s industrial-scale farms—called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)—house thousands of animals whose waste is periodically applied to “spray fields” of Bermuda grass or feed crops... Ladd of the Loyola University Department of Sociology... They found that even when controlling for regional differences, urbanization level, property value, and attributes of the labor force, eastern North Carolina counties with larger minority populations were home to greater concentrations of hog waste, a function of hog population density, compared with more urbanized counties with a higher percentage of white residents... Although more research is needed on the impact of CAFO emissions on susceptible groups of people, studies have linked hog odors and air pollution from the associated odor plume with adverse effects on health and quality of life... A proponent of the expansion stood up at the meeting and stated that if hog farms caused health concerns, the health department would make the community aware; therefore, there was nothing to worry about. “I knew … that the health department was not involved, so we wanted to see what the situation was in other parts of the country,” Fry says... She and her colleagues interviewed health department staff in eight states and found that most health departments did not deal with CAFO issues... Either they lacked the jurisdiction, had no budget or expertise, or were dealing with political pressure... Fry says, “Even if a health department thinks this is a really important issue, we’re hearing from a lot of them, ‘We’re aware of the science, we know of the problem, but it’s the political barriers. ’” The survey also found that community members did not get very far with inquiries. “We asked community members, ‘Was there ever a time you contacted a health department and they addressed your complaint?’ They all said no,” says Fry. “They were almost always referred to another agency, or maybe they would look into it and hit a barrier. ” With accumulating scientific evidence over the environmental and community health impacts of hog CAFOs and extensive media coverage of ruptured lagoons, opposition crescendoed in the mid-1990s... In 1997 North Carolina passed a law prohibiting the expansion of existing hog operations and placing a temporary moratorium on new hog CAFOs, although permits in the hopper were approved... The moratorium became permanent in 2007 with the Swine Farm Environmental Performance Standards Act, which banned new lagoons and mandated that any new or expanded CAFOs must use environmentally superior technologies (ESTs) to substantially reduce emissions and prevent waste discharges into surface and ground waters... Local residents still deal daily with odor and pollutants in the vicinity of hog farms... Premium Standard Farms, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, later voluntarily added $2.1 million toward the agreement for EST research and development... If an EST were found to be both economically feasible and environmentally superior in five categories, the companies agreed to implement it at each of the farms they owned, although not at farms they subcontracted. (Mike Williams, director of the Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center at North Carolina State University and supervisor of the agreement, says an estimated 5–10% of North Carolina hog farms are company-owned.) After phase 1 of development, only one of the new technologies examined—the Super Soil System (since renamed Terra Blue)—met all five environmental standards, but it was deemed uneconomical... In 2011 the state passed a bill that allows hog CAFOs to upgrade their buildings without needing to upgrade their waste management systems or use ESTs, counter to the previous decade’s mandates.

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Maps from an older study show distributions of poverty, minority residents, and hog CAFOs in North Carolina as of 1998–2000. Little has changed appreciably since then.Source: Wing et al. (2000)20
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f6: Maps from an older study show distributions of poverty, minority residents, and hog CAFOs in North Carolina as of 1998–2000. Little has changed appreciably since then.Source: Wing et al. (2000)20


CAFOs and environmental justice: the case of North Carolina.

Nicole W - Environ. Health Perspect. (2013)

Maps from an older study show distributions of poverty, minority residents, and hog CAFOs in North Carolina as of 1998–2000. Little has changed appreciably since then.Source: Wing et al. (2000)20
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3672924&req=5

f6: Maps from an older study show distributions of poverty, minority residents, and hog CAFOs in North Carolina as of 1998–2000. Little has changed appreciably since then.Source: Wing et al. (2000)20

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

On the coastal plain of eastern North Carolina, families in certain rural communities daily must deal with the piercing, acrid odor of hog manure—reminiscent of rotten eggs and ammonia—wafting from nearby industrial hog farms... Today’s industrial-scale farms—called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)—house thousands of animals whose waste is periodically applied to “spray fields” of Bermuda grass or feed crops... Ladd of the Loyola University Department of Sociology... They found that even when controlling for regional differences, urbanization level, property value, and attributes of the labor force, eastern North Carolina counties with larger minority populations were home to greater concentrations of hog waste, a function of hog population density, compared with more urbanized counties with a higher percentage of white residents... Although more research is needed on the impact of CAFO emissions on susceptible groups of people, studies have linked hog odors and air pollution from the associated odor plume with adverse effects on health and quality of life... A proponent of the expansion stood up at the meeting and stated that if hog farms caused health concerns, the health department would make the community aware; therefore, there was nothing to worry about. “I knew … that the health department was not involved, so we wanted to see what the situation was in other parts of the country,” Fry says... She and her colleagues interviewed health department staff in eight states and found that most health departments did not deal with CAFO issues... Either they lacked the jurisdiction, had no budget or expertise, or were dealing with political pressure... Fry says, “Even if a health department thinks this is a really important issue, we’re hearing from a lot of them, ‘We’re aware of the science, we know of the problem, but it’s the political barriers. ’” The survey also found that community members did not get very far with inquiries. “We asked community members, ‘Was there ever a time you contacted a health department and they addressed your complaint?’ They all said no,” says Fry. “They were almost always referred to another agency, or maybe they would look into it and hit a barrier. ” With accumulating scientific evidence over the environmental and community health impacts of hog CAFOs and extensive media coverage of ruptured lagoons, opposition crescendoed in the mid-1990s... In 1997 North Carolina passed a law prohibiting the expansion of existing hog operations and placing a temporary moratorium on new hog CAFOs, although permits in the hopper were approved... The moratorium became permanent in 2007 with the Swine Farm Environmental Performance Standards Act, which banned new lagoons and mandated that any new or expanded CAFOs must use environmentally superior technologies (ESTs) to substantially reduce emissions and prevent waste discharges into surface and ground waters... Local residents still deal daily with odor and pollutants in the vicinity of hog farms... Premium Standard Farms, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, later voluntarily added $2.1 million toward the agreement for EST research and development... If an EST were found to be both economically feasible and environmentally superior in five categories, the companies agreed to implement it at each of the farms they owned, although not at farms they subcontracted. (Mike Williams, director of the Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center at North Carolina State University and supervisor of the agreement, says an estimated 5–10% of North Carolina hog farms are company-owned.) After phase 1 of development, only one of the new technologies examined—the Super Soil System (since renamed Terra Blue)—met all five environmental standards, but it was deemed uneconomical... In 2011 the state passed a bill that allows hog CAFOs to upgrade their buildings without needing to upgrade their waste management systems or use ESTs, counter to the previous decade’s mandates.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus