188066 Detroit Experience: Protecting the Health of Brownfields Communities

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 8:45 AM

Vincent Nathan, PhD , Department of Environmental Affairs, City of Detroit, Detroit, MI
Laurel Berman, PhD , Brownfields Initiative, Agcy Toxic Sub & Dis Registry, Chicago, IL
Donele Wilkins , Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Detroit, MI
Sharon D. Beard, IH , Worker Education and Training Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham, NC
Brownfields are important to the city of Detroit. These sites represent a significant part of the redevelopment of contaminated sites in the city and are especially relevant to revitalization and economic development of the Detroit Riverfront. Brownfields grants continue to serve as the foundation of revitalization efforts by funding environmental assessment, cleanup, and job training activities. Over the last five years, the City of Detroit has implemented over 113 successful Brownfields projects, earning recognition for having one of the most successful Brownfields redevelopment programs in the country. Despite these successes, public health remains an area of broad community interest among Brownfields communities. The Detroit Department of Environmental Affairs and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are developing a pilot project to assess community health related to brownfields/land reuse sites. While the impacts of brownfields redevelopment on surrounding communities may be assessed, funding issues may prevent a full health assessment of these communities. The purpose of this project is to bridge the gap between brownfields as a real estate transaction and the effects of redevelopment on public health. We will present an assessment of the Harbor Hills Marina brownfields site in terms of past uses, potential contaminants, known contaminants, future use, and nearby sensitive populations. Environmental justice/public health issues will be highlighted, and a framework for community involvement in brownfields site issues and redevelopment will be suggested.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the link between economic development and public health. 2. Identify how environmental justice issues may be addressed by incorporating a health-based focus in community revitalization. 3. List 3 specific environmental justice issues expressed by community members in Detroit.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensive experience working with environmental justice issues associated with Brownfields, as well as a strong interest in eliminating health disparities associated with these potentially contaminated sites.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.