The Proximity of High Volume Developmental Neurotoxin Polluters to Schools: Vulnerable Populations at Risk
A substantial amount of environmental justice research has taken the form of “proximity studies” that analyze the race and class composition of populations living in close proximity to general sources of pollution. Such studies often find disproportionate minority, poverty, and low-income populations proximate to the pollution source. This proximity study has a different starting point. We begin by locating nearly 700 of the nation’s highest volume polluters of specific toxins that put children’s health and learning abilities at risk: developmental neurotoxins. We then examine (a) the numbers of schools and children located within two miles of each polluter, and (b) the race and class compositions of the populations within two miles. The result is a study of the proximity of vulnerable populations to pollution that highlights the vulnerability of children, not just that of minorities and the poor. We find thousands of schools and hundreds of thousands of children at risk. We also find that a substantial proportion of the high volume polluters studied are surrounded by disproportionate minority, poverty, and low-income populations.
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