Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(5), 1441-1459; doi:10.3390/ijerph8051441
Article

Playing It Safe: Assessing Cumulative Impact and Social Vulnerability through an Environmental Justice Screening Method in the South Coast Air Basin, California

Received: 22 March 2011; in revised form: 15 April 2011 / Accepted: 20 April 2011 / Published: 6 May 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Justice)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and state authorities like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have sought to address the concerns of environmental justice (EJ) advocates who argue that chemical-by-chemical and source-specific assessments of potential health risks of environmental hazards do not reflect the multiple environmental and social stressors faced by vulnerable communities. We propose an Environmental Justice Screening Method (EJSM) as a relatively simple, flexible and transparent way to examine the relative rank of cumulative impacts and social vulnerability within metropolitan regions and determine environmental justice areas based on more than simply the demographics of income and race. We specifically organize 23 indicator metrics into three categories: (1) hazard proximity and land use; (2) air pollution exposure and estimated health risk; and (3) social and health vulnerability. For hazard proximity, the EJSM uses GIS analysis to create a base map by intersecting land use data with census block polygons, and calculates hazard proximity measures based on locations within various buffer distances. These proximity metrics are then summarized to the census tract level where they are combined with tract centroid-based estimates of pollution exposure and health risk and socio-economic status (SES) measures. The result is a cumulative impacts (CI) score for ranking neighborhoods within regions that can inform diverse stakeholders seeking to identify local areas that might need targeted regulatory strategies to address environmental justice concerns.
Keywords: environmental justice; environmental health; geographic information systems; social vulnerability; cumulative impacts
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sadd, J.L.; Pastor, M.; Morello-Frosch, R.; Scoggins, J.; Jesdale, B. Playing It Safe: Assessing Cumulative Impact and Social Vulnerability through an Environmental Justice Screening Method in the South Coast Air Basin, California. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 1441-1459.

AMA Style

Sadd JL, Pastor M, Morello-Frosch R, Scoggins J, Jesdale B. Playing It Safe: Assessing Cumulative Impact and Social Vulnerability through an Environmental Justice Screening Method in the South Coast Air Basin, California. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(5):1441-1459.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sadd, James L.; Pastor, Manuel; Morello-Frosch, Rachel; Scoggins, Justin; Jesdale, Bill. 2011. "Playing It Safe: Assessing Cumulative Impact and Social Vulnerability through an Environmental Justice Screening Method in the South Coast Air Basin, California." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 5: 1441-1459.

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