An Investigation of Environmental Racism Claims: Testing Environmental Management Approaches with a Geographic Information System
Environmental Management, Vol. 27, pp. 893-907, 2001
15 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2009 Last revised: 17 Apr 2014
Date Written: 2001
The purpose of this research was to explore the concept of an environmental racism claim through the use of several environmental management tools. The EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, Cumulative Exposure Project, and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services' Hot Zone Census Tract Assessment were combined with racial and socioeconomic data to test claims that minorities in South Central Los Angeles are disproportionately exposed to environmental lead. Multivariate analysis indicated that race is strongly associated with the number of cases of elevated blood lead levels in South Central, irrespective of poverty status. Proximity to point sources, a common focal point for studies of environmental racism, was not a contributing factor to health outcomes. Proximity to transportation corridors was consistently the strongest indicator of environmental lead exposure, while median home values were significantly and positively related to elevated blood lead levels. Implications for environmental justice advocates and social and environmental scientists are discussed.
Keywords: Environmental racism, Geographic information science, environmental lead, South Central Los Angeles
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation