Hazardous Waste Facilities: “Environmental Equity” Issues in Metropolitan Areas

Douglas L. Anderton, Andy B. Anderson, Peter H. Rossi, John Michael Oakes, Michael R. Fraser, Eleanor W. Weber, Edward J. Calabrese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Recent widely publicized studies claim facilities for treatment, storage, and disposal of hazard ous wastes (TSDFs) are located in areas with higher than average proportions of minorities, thereby exposing minorities to relatively greater levels of potential risk. These claims have influenced national policies and public perceptions. This article revisits those claims in the first national study of TSDFs to use census tract-level data, finding no consistent and statistically significant differences in the racial or ethnic composition of tracts that contain commercial TSDFs and those that do not. Aggregating tracts surrounding TSDF tract locations, the authors find that the claims of the previous studies rest on using larger areal aggregates (zip code areas) on the peripheries of which the densities of minority populations are higher. The authors conclude that whether minorities are exposed to greater risk depends on how distance from TSDF sites is related to that nsk, an issue on which there is currently little knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-140
Number of pages18
JournalEvaluation Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes


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