Thursday, April 12, 2007

Toxic Waste and Environmental Justice

California has a tendency to put toxic waste dumps near minority communities:

California has the nation's highest concentration of minorities living near hazardous waste facilities, according to a newly released study.

Greater Los Angeles has 1.2 million people living less than two miles from such facilities and 91%, or 1.1 million, are minorities. Statewide, the figure was 81%.

The study, conducted by researchers at four universities for the United Church of Christ, examined census data for neighborhoods adjacent to 413 facilities nationwide that process or store hazardous chemical waste produced by refineries, metal plating shops, drycleaners and battery recyclers, among other sources.

While about one-third of U.S. residents are nonwhite, more than half of the people living near such facilities were Latino, African American or Asian American, according to the report released this week.
The inequality represented in this article angered me. Presence of toxins in the environment has been connected with various developmental problems in children and illnesses in people of all ages. That these toxins would affect minorities disproportionately is a basic justice issue.

Via theGarance.