Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Environmental racism refers to the disproportionate distribution of environmental hazards and toxic facilities resulting from governmental or corporate policies and regulations that deliberately target poor and minority communities. The seminal 1987 study, Toxic Waste and Race in the United States , conducted by the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice, found that race was the most significant variable in deciding where hazardous waste facilities were to be located. Subsequent research has largely confirmed that race, even more than economic class, is the strongest predictor of placement for waste-producing facilities. In effect, environmental racism can be seen as mirroring existing patterns of social inequality; the most polluted communities tend to be the ones populated by minority residents of low socioeconomic status. The disparate geographic distribution of environmental hazards means that toxic facilities emanating high levels of pollution are apt to be situated near neighborhoods with low property values and ...