Abstract: Polluting facilities and hazardous sites are often concentrated in low-income communities of color already facing additional stressors to their health. The influence of socioeconomic status is not considered in traditional models of risk assessment. We describe a pilot study of a screening method that considers both pollution burden and population characteristics in assessing the potential for cumulative impacts. The goal is to identify communities that warrant further attention and to thereby provide actionable guidance to decision- and policy-makers in achieving environmental justice. The method uses indicators related to five components to develop a relative cumulative impact score for use in comparing communities: exposures, public health effects, environmental effects, sensitive populations and socioeconomic factors. Here, we describe several methodological considerations in combining disparate data sources and report on the results of sensitivity analyses meant to guide future improvements in cumulative impact assessments. We discuss criteria for the selection of appropriate indicators, correlations between them, and consider data quality and the influence of choices regarding model structure. We conclude that the results of this model are largely robust to changes in model structure.
Keywords: cumulative impacts; cumulative risk assessment; environmental justice; community health
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.
Export to BibTeX
MDPI and ACS Style
Meehan August, L.; Faust, J.B.; Cushing, L.; Zeise, L.; Alexeeff, G.V. Methodological Considerations in Screening for Cumulative Environmental Health Impacts: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in California. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 3069-3084.
Meehan August L, Faust JB, Cushing L, Zeise L, Alexeeff GV. Methodological Considerations in Screening for Cumulative Environmental Health Impacts: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in California. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2012; 9(9):3069-3084.
Meehan August, Laura; Faust, John B.; Cushing, Lara; Zeise, Lauren; Alexeeff, George V. 2012. "Methodological Considerations in Screening for Cumulative Environmental Health Impacts: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in California." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 9, no. 9: 3069-3084.