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Solid Waste Facilities in NC: Disproportionately Located in Communities of Color and Low Wealth

Steve Wing, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
NIEHS Grant R25ES008206

Landfills and other solid waste facilities are twice as likely to be located in communities of color in North Carolina, according to new NIEHS-funded research findings reported in the September 2007 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

A research team from the UNC School of Public Health examined records for all solid waste facilities in North Carolina as of 2003 and found that 419 facilities were permitted as of the end of 2003. Facilities were 2.1 times more likely to be found in communities with greater than 10 percent people of color. The research also found that facilities were 1.4 times more likely in communities with average home values less than $100,000.

Newer facilities permitted between 1990 and 2003 were 2.2 times more likely to be found in communities with populations made up of greater than 10 percent minorities. Numbers were similar for private versus public facilities.

The communities that host these facilities are concerned about their health and well being because of truck traffic and traffic-related pollution, odor, noise and water contamination. Other concerns include the effect on property values and the effects these facilities have on the location of schools, medical facilities and cleaner industries.

Citation: Norton JM, Wing S, Lipscomb HJ, Kaufman JS, Marshall SW, Cravey AJ. Race, wealth, and solid waste facilities in North Carolina. 2007. Environ Health Perspect 115(9):1344-1350. [Abstract] ( Exit NIEHS Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health
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Last Reviewed: October 31, 2007