Thursday, March 01, 2007

U-M Researchers Find More Hazardous Waste Facilities Located in Minority Areas

Environmental justice scholars have claimed that hazardous waste facilities are disproportionately placed in poor, minority neighborhoods. New research from the University of Michigan supports these arguments.

One assertion is that the hazardous waste facilities came first, which causes the neighborhood demographics to change. As that argument goes, the more affluent white people move out, and poorer minority people are forced to stay or move in, said Paul Mohai, a professor in the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment.

However, the study concluded that minorities were living in the areas where hazardous waste facilities decided to locate before the facilities arrived. Mohai — who conducted the research in collaboration with Robin Saha, a former U-M Ph.D. student and post-doctoral scholar, now an assistant professor at University of Montana — also found that the demographics in the neighborhoods were already changing and that white residents had already started to move out when the facility was sited.

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