3013.0 Federal Perspectives on Social Justice, Climate Change and Environmental Health

Monday, November 8, 2010: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
The environmental justice movement was born out of the struggles of over-burdened communities to address disparities in environmental exposures and health burdens through changes in regulations, regulatory enforcement, and urban planning principles. A critical gap, however, has been the inability of science and policy to address the issue of cumulative risk- the fact that disadvantaged communities must cope not only with increased exposure to chemical toxins but to multiple other stressors and health risks that can interact with chemical exposures to lead to more serious health consequences. Executive Order 12898 (1994) and the development of EPA’s and NEJAC’s early cumulative risk approaches –particularly Ensuring Risk reduction in Communities with Multiple Stressor: Environmental Justice and Cumulative Risks / Impacts (2004) – have acknowledged the scope and range of the problem, and recommended comprehensive ameliorative measures. The increasing challenges of climate change for human health raise a set of new issues for social justice, including disproportionate impacts of extreme weather and other climate-related events on communities and secondary effects of measures taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or adapt to other climate change impacts. This session will consider early federal approaches to assessing cumulative stressors and developing more comprehensive approaches to reducing health disparities. It will also discuss how climate change and policies to reduce the severity of climate change impacts may affect social justice, and how the federal government is approaching theses challenges.
Session Objectives: Identify the critical social justice issues related to environmental health risks faced by communities. Identify how climate change impacts and responses will interact with historical environmental justice issues. Describe the role cumulative stressors play in contributing to health disparities. Describe ways in which the federal government is addressing the role of cumulative stressors.
John Sullivan, MA and John M. Balbus, MD, MPH

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Organized by: APHA-Special Sessions

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