Online Program

Nationwide analysis of disparities between demographic groups for twelve environmental indicators developed for EPA's EJSCREEN

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mark Corrales, MPP, Office of the Administrator, Office of Policy, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently launched a new screening and mapping tool for environmental justice, called EJSCREEN. Development of EJSCREEN included a review of data sources, selection of datasets based on explicit criteria, and construction of twelve environmental indicators available at relatively high resolution with nationwide coverage. Some of these provide new data quantifying proximity to industrial facilities, proximity to -- and volume of -- traffic, or potential for exposure to lead paint. EPA also compiled demographic data on race/ethnicity, income, educational attainment, and other variables. These screening-level indicators were calculated for each of approximately 217,000 Census block groups.

Nationwide analysis was recently conducted using the large dataset, to examine disparities between demographic groups in each of the environmental indicators. Ratios were calculated representing the ratio of mean indicator value in a given demographic group to the mean in the rest of the population. Regional and State stratification was also conducted.

The resulting ratios represent a large dataset of novel information on disparities between demographic groups, for the US overall, and allows for comparisons between States as well. Key findings are presented, revealing which environmental indicators and which demographic groups face the largest disparities. In particular, the new metric that quantifies residential proximity to (and volume of) traffic indicates that minorities on average have a traffic score twice as high as the rest of the US population. The data also show that proximity scores for treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) are more than twice as high among Hispanics than the rest of the US population. These ratios vary widely by State, with the disparities concentrated primarily in certain key States.

Learning Areas:

Biostatistics, economics
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Name environmental and demographic indicators used by EPA in the EJSCREEN screening and mapping tool. Identify which environmental indicators and which demographic groups show the largest disparities, when comparing mean indicator scores in one group versus the rest of the US population.

Keyword(s): Air Pollution & Respiratory Health, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 25 years of experience in environmental policy and health risk assessment, and was the primary architect of the methods used in EPA's EJSCREEN tool. I have a biology degree from Harvard College and Masters in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
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.