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Am J Public Health. 2018 Apr;108(4):480-485. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304297. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Disparities in Distribution of Particulate Matter Emission Sources by Race and Poverty Status.

Author information

1
Ihab Mikati and Adam F. Benson are participants in the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education research training program stationed with the National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC. Thomas J. Luben, Jason D. Sacks, and Jennifer Richmond-Bryant are staff members with the National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To quantify nationwide disparities in the location of particulate matter (PM)-emitting facilities by the characteristics of the surrounding residential population and to illustrate various spatial scales at which to consider such disparities.

METHODS:

We assigned facilities emitting PM in the 2011 National Emissions Inventory to nearby block groups across the 2009 to 2013 American Community Survey population. We calculated the burden from these emissions for racial/ethnic groups and by poverty status. We quantified disparities nationally and for each state and county in the country.

RESULTS:

For PM of 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less, those in poverty had 1.35 times higher burden than did the overall population, and non-Whites had 1.28 times higher burden. Blacks, specifically, had 1.54 times higher burden than did the overall population. These patterns were relatively unaffected by sensitivity analyses, and disparities held not only nationally but within most states and counties as well.

CONCLUSIONS:

Disparities in burden from PM-emitting facilities exist at multiple geographic scales. Disparities for Blacks are more pronounced than are disparities on the basis of poverty status. Strictly socioeconomic considerations may be insufficient to reduce PM burdens equitably across populations.

Comment in

PMID:
29470121
PMCID:
PMC5844406
[Available on 2019-04-01]
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2017.304297

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