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Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate Environmental Health Impacts

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Chief James Ransom speaks at the opening plenary session

EPA held a science symposium on March 17-19, 2010 to examine factors that help explain why some populations, particularly minority, low income, and tribal populations, are exposed to greater environmental pollution. The Symposium also focused on why some populations experience greater environmental health risks from environmental pollution. Discussions at the Symposium also focused on how this knowledge can be considered in the governmental decision-making process.

Following the Symposium, fourteen scientific reviews commissioned by the EPA were completed and are now published in the American Journal of Public Health. EPA also developed an update report (PDF) (73 pp, 1.69MB) to highlight ongoing and future actions by the agency in response to suggestions by Symposium participants and environmental justice advocates. These actions help to:

  • empower communities to take action to improve their health and environment,
  • increase interagency collaboration on environmental justice,
  • advance scientific understanding of environmental justice issues, and
  • better integrate environmental justice into the EPA’s decision making processes.

Read more about the Symposium

Commissioned Papers:Exit EPA Disclaimer

  1. Symposium on Integrating the Science of Environmental Justice into Decision-Making at the Environmental Protection Agency: An Overview
  2. Expanding the Scope of Environmental Risk Assessment to Better Include Differential Vulnerability and Susceptibility
  3. Exploring Potential Sources of Differential Vulnerability and Susceptibility in Risk From Environmental Hazards to Expand the Scope of Risk Assessment
  4. Expanding the Scope of Risk Assessment: Methods of Studying Differential Vulnerability and Susceptibility
  5. Residential Proximity to Environmental Hazards and Adverse Health Outcomes
  6. Disproportionate Proximity to Environmental Health Hazards: Methods, Models, and Measurement
  7. Cumulative Risk Assessment for Combined Health Effects From Chemical and Nonchemical Stressors
  8. Conceptual Models for Cumulative Risk Assessment
  9. Critical Biological Pathways for Chronic Psychosocial Stress and Research Opportunities to Advance the Consideration of Stress in Chemical Risk Assessment
  10. Strengthening Community Capacity to Participate in Making Decisions to Reduce Disproportionate Environmental Exposures
  11. Community Stress, Psychosocial Hazards and EPA Decision-Making in Communities Impacted by Chronic Technological Disasters
  12. Drinking Water Infrastructure and Environmental Disparities: Evidence and Methodological Considerations
  13. Environmental Health Disparities in Housing
  14. Conceptual Environmental Justice Model for Evaluating Chemical Pathways of Exposure in Low-Income, Minority, Native American, and Other Unique Exposure Populations
  15. Disproportionate Exposures in Environmental Justice and Other Populations: The Importance of Outliers
Files Description Transcripts
Intro (MP3) (655K, runtime 00:42)
Introduction by Christine Guitar Intro (PDF) (1 pg, 8K)
Part 1 (MP3) (6.5 MB, runtime 06:57)
Interview with Dr. Juliana Maantay on proximity Part 1 (PDF) (2 pp, 14K)
Part 2 (MP3) (2.6 MB, runtime 02:49)
Interview with Roger Kim on proximity Part 2 (PDF) (2 pp, 30K)
Part 3 (MP3) (6.1 MB, runtime 06:34)
Interview with Dr. Stephen Linder on cumulative/multiple impacts Part 3 (PDF) (2 pp, 14K)
Part 4 (MP3) (3.3 MB, runtime 03:33)
Interview with Chief James Ransom on cumulative/multiple impacts Part 4 (PDF) (1 pg, 11K)
Part 5 (MP3) (6 MB, runtime 06:26)
Interview with Dr. Joel Schwartz on vulnerability/susceptibility Part 5 (PDF) (2 pp, 31K)
Part 6 (MP3) (3 MB, runtime 03:13)
Interview with Wilma Subra on vulnerability/susceptibility Part 6 (PDF) (1 pg, 29K)
Part 7 (MP3) (6 MB, runtime 06:24)
Interview with Dr. Jane Clougherty on psycho-social stress Part 7 (PDF) (2 pp, 14K)
Part 8 (MP3) (5.6 MB, runtime 05:57)
Interview with Dr. Pamela Tucker & Dr. Charlton Coles on psycho-social stress Part 8 (PDF) (2 pp, 32K)
Part 9 (MP3) (5.8 MB, runtime 06:11)
Interview with Dr. Mark Mitchell on psycho-social stress Part 9 (PDF) (2 pp, 31K)
Part 10 (MP3) (3.5 MB, runtime 03:46)
Interview with Dr. David Jacobs on physical infrastructure Part 10 (PDF) (2 pp, 12K)
Part 11 (MP3) (2.9 MB, runtime 03:03)
Interview with Laurel Firestone on physical infrastructure Part 11 (PDF) (1 pg, 11K)
Part 12 (MP3) (6.2 MB, runtime 06:38)
Interview with Dr. Nicholas Freudenberg on community capacity Part 12 (PDF) (2 pp, 32K)

The information, reports and recommendations found on this site reflect the opinions and views of the individual respondents, and not necessarily the views or opinions of the U.S. EPA.


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