Helen Scharber, email@example.com, will share all data and coding for replication purposes. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SES-1060904 and by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship No. FP-917118. The authors are grateful to three anonymous referees for helpful comments and to Rich Puchalsky for excellent database development.
Is Environmental Justice Good for White Folks? Industrial Air Toxics Exposure in Urban America†
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2012
© 2012 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 94, Issue 3, pages 616–636, September 2013
How to Cite
Ash, M., Boyce, J. K., Chang, G. and Scharber, H. (2013), Is Environmental Justice Good for White Folks? Industrial Air Toxics Exposure in Urban America. Social Science Quarterly, 94: 616–636. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00874.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 22 JUN 2012
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: SES-1060904
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science
The study examines spatial variation in exposure to toxic air pollution from industrial facilities in urban areas of the United States in relation to the local distribution of the pollution burden.
We conducted between- and within-city analysis of geographic microdata from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators project and data from the 2000 U.S. Census.
Average exposure in an urban area is positively correlated with the extent of racial and ethnic disparity in the distribution of the exposure burden. Average exposures also tend to be higher for all population subgroups, including whites, in urban areas with higher minority pollution-exposure discrepancies.
The correlations could arise from causal linkages in either or both directions: the ability to displace pollution onto minorities may lower the effective cost of pollution for industrial firms; and higher average pollution burdens may induce whites to invest more political capital in efforts to influence firms’ siting decisions. The analysis suggests that improvement in environmental justice could benefit not only minorities but also whites.