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Exposure to Extremely
Hazardous Substances
•The likelihood of exposure to hazardous substances
based on economic status and race
•Paper by J. Chakraborty. 2001. Risk Analysis,
21(5): 883-895
•Presented by Jeffrey Tate, Environmental Studies,
Geog 370, 3/1/2010
Differences in Exposure
• Problem: Whether or not minorities and people
of lower economic status are more likely to be
exposed to extremely hazardous substances
• Hypothesis: Minorities and people below the
poverty line have significantly more exposure to
extremely hazardous chemicals than whites and
those above the poverty level
• Site: Hillsborough County, Florida
• Determined within the county: Number of facilities
that use extremely hazardous substances, where
they are, what substances they house (from RMPs)
• Estimates for 1997 based on Census data were used
to determine the racial composition and poverty
status of the population in the county
• The locations of the facilities were geocoded onto
the street network and used with the Census data to
see what groups of people were close to the facilities
• Non-white people had a higher risk of potential
exposure to accidental releases of extremely
hazardous chemicals than white people
• People below the poverty line had a higher risk
of potential exposure than those above the line
• There is a clear difference between the potential
exposure of hazardous substances between minorities
and whites, and those above the poverty line and below
• There are clear racial and economic inequalities in the
distribution of accidental exposure to hazardous
• Criticisms
• Does not determine whether communities or facilities
come first
• Does not examine actual health effects due to exposure
of hazardous substances