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Environmental Justice and Southern California's "Riskscape"

Citation: Urban Affairs Review, 2001, 36, 4, 551-578

Past research on “environmental justice” has often failed to systematically link hazard proximity with quantifiable health risks. The authors employ recent advances in air emissions inventories and modeling techniques to consider a broad range of outdoor air toxics in Southern California and to calculate the potential lifetime cancer risks associated with these pollutants. They find that such risks are attributable mostly to transportation and small-area sources and not the usually targeted large-facility pollution emissions. Multivariate regression suggests that race plays an explanatory role in risk distribution even after controlling for other economic, land-use, and population factors. This pattern suggests the need for innovative emissions reduction efforts as well as specific strategies to alter the spatial and racial character of the environmental “riskscape” in urban centers.

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