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Asians, Racial Segregation and Exposure to Air Toxics

Russ Lopez, MCRP, DSc, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University, 715 Albany Street, Talbot 2E, Boston, MA 02118, N/A, RPTLOPEZ@bu.edu

Similar to other population groups, Asians are not uniformly distributed across metropolitan areas but tend to cluster in certain neighborhoods. While their levels of racial residential segregation are not as high as those experienced by African Americans, Asians are concentrated in inner cities and inner ring suburbs. The health and environmental consequences of the segregation of other racial groups has been well documented but the effects of the racial segregation of Asians have had less attention.

This study examined the relationship between disparate exposure to air toxics and Asian segregation in all continental US metropolitan areas. Controlling for other potential factors, it found that the more Asians were segregated, the more likely they were to be exposed to air toxics. Other important factors affecting the risk of exposure inequality were the ratio of Asian poverty to White poverty and the degree of urban sprawl in a metropolitan area. This inequality persisted no matter how air toxics were summed: total unweighted concentrations, predicted lifetime cancer occurrences or total estimated non-cancer effects. Given that there may be health consequences to these disparate exposures, Asian racial residential segregation is a matter of concern.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Air Pollutants, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Environmental Health Issues: The Physical, Social, and Built Environment

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA