148017 Twenty years after Toxic Wastes and Race: Its legacy for environmental health

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:30 PM

Charles Lee , Office of Environmental Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
The year 2007 is the twentieth anniversary of the seminal report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, the first national study of the demographic characteristics of communities surrounding hazardous waste sites. When Toxic Wastes and Race was published, nobody could have predicted that words like race, equity, and justice would become standard lexicon in the environmental discourse. Many of the report's recommendations have now been implemented. The landmark report sparked an enduring discourse about social justice in environmental policy that has proven to be both widespread and deep-rooted. Twenty years, in some instances, signal the passage of a generation. The report inspired the development of a first generation of environmental justice leaders, both within communities and institutions. This presentation will examine, from the perspective of the principal author of Toxic Wastes and Race, some of the abiding contributions that the environmental justice movement's first generation of leaders has made to the environmental health field, and how they contribute to addressing environmental health challenges of the 21st century. These challenges include: (1) environmental health disparities; (2) land use and the built environment; and (3) climate change and sustainability. The presentation will also discuss strategies to develop a second generation of environmental justice leadership to address these emerging issues.

Learning Objectives:
To learn about key developments in environmental justice research, policy, advocacy, and organizing over the past twenty years and how they have impacted the field of environmental health. To gain insight on the enormous historical legacy of the landmark report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, from the unique perspective of its principal author. To examine how an environmental justice paradigm can contribute to addressing the environmental health challenges of the 21st century, and possible strategies to develop a second generation of environmental justice leadership.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.