Atmospheric Pollution, Environmental Justice and Mortality Rate: a Spatial Approach
This paper presents the first study of environmental inequality related to health in France at the national scale. Through an econometric analysis based on a panel data from 2000 to 2004 at a department level, we investigate total mortality rate in relation to socioeconomic status and air pollution. Concentration level of CO, SO2, NO2, NO, O3 and PM10 are estimated by spatial interpolation from local observations of a network of monitoring stations. By running a multivariate model, we first investigate the relationship between socioeconomic factors and total mortality rate; then, we make the link with environmental air quality measured within the department. Unemployment plays an important role in affecting the mortality rate. Pollutant concentration level are divided into two risk categories (low and high) at the median. We find a positive and significative relationship between NO2 and mortality rate especially at high concentration level of NO2 with a relative risk more important for women. Besides, NO2 level tends to modify the effect of unemployment on mortality rate. These results not only confirm the existence of short term relationships between current air pollution levels and mortality but also raise questions about environmental justice in France
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