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Am J Public Health. 2008 Aug;98(8):1390-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.110486. Epub 2008 Jun 12.

Integrating epidemiology, education, and organizing for environmental justice: community health effects of industrial hog operations.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, CB 7435, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, USA.


The environmental justice movement has stimulated community-driven research about the living and working conditions of people of color and low-income communities. We describe an epidemiological study designed to link research with community education and organizing for social justice. In eastern North Carolina, high-density industrial swine production occurs in communities of low-income people and people of color. We investigated relationships between the resulting pollution and the health and quality of life of the hog operations' neighbors. A repeat-measures longitudinal design, community involvement in data collection, and integration of qualitative and quantitative research methods helped promote data quality while providing opportunities for community education and organizing. Research could affect policy through its findings and its mobilization of communities.

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