266425 Causes and Environmental Health Consequences of Pollution Havens

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Michele Morrone, PHD , Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Tania Basta, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Background: The Pollution Havens Hypothesis (PHH) states that rich countries will locate polluting industries in poor countries to avoid costs associated with environmental regulations. While there is still debate about the causes of pollution havens, environmental justice and health disparities research have documented that socioeconomic status is related to geographic differences in environmental health. This study applies the PHH at the regional and local levels in the state of Ohio to broaden the discourse related to the causes and consequences of pollution havens. Methods: First, socioeconomic, environmental, and health data were compared between Appalachian and non-Appalachian counties in Ohio to determine the presence of a regional pollution haven as well as the related health consequences. Second, a case study of one county in Appalachian Ohio was used to explore the causes of a local pollution haven; data from a regional public opinion survey (N=1000) and an on-line voting activity (N=1,141) provided the foundation for this research component. Results: Significant differences in socioeconomic, environmental, and health conditions between Appalachian and non-Appalachian counties emerged. In addition, the case study demonstrated the role of public opinion in creating a potential local pollution haven. Conclusions: The PHH must be discussed in the realm of areas within countries, not just between countries, and this research indicates the presence of a regional pollution haven in Ohio. Furthermore, local pollution havens are likely to emerge as long as the economy remains weak and communities are willing to house facilities because they promise short term jobs. As such, public health professionals and researchers must engage in evaluating local community adaptation capacities in order to minimize health disparities in the future.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the pollution havens hypothesis and its implications for environmental justice and health disparities. 2. Analyze the role that stakeholders have in creating local pollution havens, specifically in a weak economy. 3. Identify the potential environmental health consequences of pollution havens.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 25 years experience as an environmental health researcher and have written several books and numerous articles related to this topic. Specifically, I am the co-editor of a recent book focused on environmental justice in the Appalachian region of the country.I am the co-principal investigator of the research on which this presentation is based.
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.