206802 Impact of toxic waste facilities on birth outcomes in South Carolina

Monday, November 9, 2009

Muhammad Salaam , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Sacoby Wilson, MS, PhD , Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Objective: This study investigated county-level exposure to Toxics Releases Inventory (TRI) emissions and influences on preterm delivery and low birth weight (LBW) in South Carolina.

Methods: Aggregate level birth data on infants was obtained from 1995-2005 on all 46 counties in South Carolina. Data on TRI emissions, demographics and socioeconomic variables were also collected for the same time period.

Results: From 1995-2005, preterm births increased from 9.6% to 12.7% and LBW infants also increased from 9.1% to 10.1%. Simultaneously, TRI emission levels and the number of facilities also increased. Counties with high levels of TRI emissions also showed high percentages of African Americans, high poverty, and low income.

Conclusions: Health disparities in birth outcomes currently exist in South Carolina. Although African-Americans make up only a third of the newborn population, they account for 43% of preterm infants and 50% of infants with low birth weight. These health disparities are possibly influenced by levels of environmental pollution throughout the state. Other socioeconomic factors, including poverty and income, may also contribute to the complexity of these disparities. Additional research is needed to understand the strength of the association between environmental exposures and birth outcomes at the individual level.

Learning Objectives:
- To list the types of toxic release inventory facilities in South Carolina. - To describe the distribution of birth outcomes and residential exposure to toxic waste facilities in South Carolina. - To describe the racial and socioeconomic disparities among newborns in South Carolina.

Keywords: Birth Outcomes, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am completing my Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina. I also have a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. I have also worked on several research projects on environmental injustices and health disparities.
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.