The California Community Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen) advances research and policy pertaining to environmental health vulnerability. However, CalEnviroScreen departs from its historical foundations and comparable screening tools by no longer considering racial status as an indicator of environmental health vulnerability and predictor of cumulative pollution burden. This study used conceptual frameworks and analytical techniques from environmental health and inequality literature to address the limitations of CalEnviroScreen, especially its inattention to race-based environmental health vulnerabilities. It developed an adjusted measure of cumulative pollution burden from the CalEnviroScreen 2.0 data that facilitates multivariate analyses of the effect of neighborhood racial composition on cumulative pollution burden, net of other indicators of population vulnerability, traffic density, industrial zoning, and local and regional clustering of pollution burden. Principal component analyses produced three new measures of population vulnerability, including Latina/o cumulative disadvantage that represents the spatial concentration of Latinas/os, economic disadvantage, limited English-speaking ability, and health vulnerability. Spatial error regression analyses demonstrated that concentrations of Latinas/os, followed by Latina/o cumulative disadvantage, are the strongest demographic determinants of adjusted cumulative pollution burden. Findings have implications for research and policy pertaining to cumulative impacts and race-based environmental health vulnerabilities within and beyond California.
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