Fellows in the News

Prior research has found that low socioeconomic status (SES) populations and minorities in some areas reside in communities with disproportionate exposure to hazardous chemicals. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the relevance of socio-demographic characteristics on the presence of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) facilities, air releases, and prevalence and resolution of air quality complaints in the 20-county Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). We found that there were 4.7% more minority residents in census tracts where TRI facilities were located. The odds ratio (OR) for the presence of a TRI facility was 0.89 (p < 0.01) for each 1% increase of females with a college degree and 2.4 (p < 0.01) for households with an income of $22,000–$55,000. The estimated reduction in the amount of chemicals emitted per release associated with population of females with a college degree was 18.53 pounds (p < 0.01). Complaints took longer to resolve in census tracts with higher Hispanic populations (OR = 1.031, 95% CI: 1.010–1.054). Overall, results indicate that SES and race/ethnicity are related to TRI facility siting, releases, and complaints in the Atlanta area. These findings have not been documented previously and suggest that lower SES and non-White communities may be disproportionately exposed.

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