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Welcome to PSR's Environmental Health Policy Institute, where we ask questions -- then we ask the experts to answer them. Join us as physicians, health professionals, and environmental health experts share their ideas, inspiration, and analysis about toxic chemicals and environmental health policy.

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Explain how environmental justice concerns play out in your community, and how policy change could address exposure disparities.

Posted by Molly Rauch, MPH

Healthcare providers and public health practitioners know that disadvantaged communities suffer from chronic disease — asthma, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and others — at far greater rates than do others. These diseases are linked to environmental exposures. When we look at patterns of environmental pollution, we also see that poor communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals in the environment. They live, work, study, and play close to such toxic hot spots as waste incinerators, brownfields, busy roadways, chemical manufacturing plants, and oil refineries. These communities’ chronic disease rates are the hidden face of our nation’s reliance on industrial chemicals. They reveal the failings in our chemicals management policies.

Responses

The Canary in the Gold Mine
José T. Bravo

Improving Health by Reducing Environmental Injustice
Martha Dina Arguello

Reforming Chemical Policy Starts at the Fenceline in Environmental Justice Communities
Denny Larson

Chemical Lifecycle and Exposure in Environmental Justice Communities
Mark Mitchell, MD MPH


The views expressed in these essays are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Comments

Richard said ..

Shameful! Why do we do these things to each other? These people are our representatives! God help Us! lovesandrespectsxoxo Richard.'Jan6/2012.'

January 6, 2012
Ferdinand Gajewski, PhD said ..

Published by me in The Westfield [New Jersey] Leader, June 11, 1998 New Jersey State Senator Louis Kosco is this session sponsoring a bill (Senate Bill No. 298) which “would require that human blood and pathological waste, including tissues, organs and body parts and fluids which are removed during embalming be treated as regulated medical waste under the Comprehensive Regulated Medical Waste Act,” thus ending the practice of discharging ex-corpore materials into sanitary sewers. Given the compromised state of sanitary and storm sewer systems in our state’s [New Jersey's] older municipalities, contents of the sanitary sewers have been known to find their way into the storm sewers, even here in town. And storm sewers may flow as aboveground streams and into ponds where children play. In the 1996 legislative session, a bill similar to Senator Kosco’s (Assembly Bill No. 2363) was sponsored by Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano and cosponsored by Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger. Despite the obvious urgency of the problem addressed, that bill failed to pass into law. The public would do well, I think, to press our elected representatives in Trenton to adopt Senator Kosco’s bill before the current legislative session winds down. [This issue was never resolved.]

October 6, 2011

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