Date: Fri, 6 Dec 96 21:43:49 CST
From: rich%pencil@VMA.CC.ND.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Study of Environmental Impacts on Minority Populations
Article: 1924

/** headlines: 147.0 **/
** Topic: Study of Environmental Impacts on Minority Populations **
** Written 9:28 AM Dec 5, 1996 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
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From: EcoNet Environmental Justice Desk <>
Subject: study of environmental impacts on minority populations (fwd)

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Subject: study of environmental impacts on minority populations

Study Finds Link between Incinerators, Minority Status and Cancer in Michigan

Press Release by the Michigan Environmental Council, Tuesday 26 November 1996

Tuesday, November 26, 1996

CONTACT: Elaine Hockman, (313) 577-4740
Charles Morris, (313) 283-9574

Detroit—A recent study has established a link between environmental pollution, race, and cancer and low birth weight. Using both demographic and housing data from the 1990 Census and locational data of major pollution sources across the State of Michigan, Dr. Elaine Hockman, Director of the Research Support Laboratory at Wayne State University and Charles Morris, Graduate Student in Urban Planning at Wayne State, have shown a strong link between various types of pollution sources and minority status.

Although the data does not prove causation, it suggests a strong association between race and pollution and human health problems that should concern state and local policymakers, and spur protective actions, the researchers said.

With State of Michigan zip codes as the unit of analysis Hockman and Morris have used multivariate statistics to establish that:

1) Race is a consistent predictor of location of pollution sources, with pollution sources occurring more often in minority areas. However, other socioeconomic and housing characteristics, other than income, also predict environmental sources of contamination. The drive time to work (shorter time), the percent of home ownership (more renters), housing value, percent on public assistance (greater percentage), number of persons per household (fewer), vacant housing (less) and population density (greater) impact the siting of pollution sources. Minority racial status remains a major contributor to spatial location near pollution sources, particularly incinerators.

2) This study looked at multiple pollution sources simultaneously- the listing of Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST) for 1990, the lists of Act 307 Hazardous Waste Sites for 1990 and 1995, the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) for 1989 and 1993, landfills for 1996, hazardous waste treatment facilities for 1996, and listing of incinerators for 1996. Hockman and Morris found that incinerators and LUST sites are more likely to be associated with minority racial status and lower income than are landfills and hazardous waste sites.

3) Despite all the publicity and State efforts to target hazardous waste sites for cleanup, little cleanup is actually occurring. Of the 1,961 sites that were on the Act 307 list for both 1990 and 1995 and had a cleanup status indicator for both years, only 14% have shown any improvement in status over that five year period. Over 80% of the sites have had no cleanup activity at all. A surprising 6% of the sites report slippage. The good news for the State is that Hockman and Morris found no evidence of racial of racial or class bias in the sites that had attention to cleanup versus those that didn't.

4) Environmental pollution is associated with increased rates of suspected environmental cancers (i.e. derived from reported new cases of cancer in 1987, 1990 and 1993) even when controls for age, population and household density, and race were added. In particular, the presence of incinerators is associated with areas of higher cancer rates. Environmental pollution also impacts increased rates of low birth weight (<2,000 grams).