ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR CHEMICAL POLICY REFORM
The report is the first public accounting of the demographic characteristics of populations within the “vulnerability zones” of entire industry sectors that manufacture chemicals, treat water or wastewater, produce bleach, generate electric power, refined petroleum, produce pulp and paper, or otherwise have large numbers of people living in the path of a potential worst-case chemical release. It also shares the stories of some of these communities.
The new research presented in this report finds that residents of chemical facility vulnerability zones are disproportionately Black (African American) or Latino, have higher rates of poverty than the U.S. as a whole, and have lower housing values, incomes, and education levels than the national average. The disproportionate or unequal danger is sharply magnified in the “fenceline” areas nearest the facilities.
The analysis produced striking fndings about the fenceline zones nearest to the facilities, where residents live closest to hazardous chemicals and with the least time to react in the event of a catastrophic release.
- Residents of the fenceline zones have home values 33% below the national average. Avereage household incomes in the fenceline zones are 22% below the national average.
- The percentage of Blacks in the fenceline zones is 75% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, while the percentage of Latinos in the fenceline zones is 60% greater than for the U.S. as a whole.
- The percentage of adults in the fenceline zones with less than a high school degree is 46% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, and the percentage of adults in the fenceline zones with a college or other postsecondary degree is 27% lower than for the U.S. as a whole.
- The poverty rates in the fenceline zones is higher than for the U.S. as a whole.