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      Separate and Unequal: Residential Segregation and Estimated Cancer Risks Associated with Ambient Air Toxics in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

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          Abstract

          This study examines links between racial residential segregation and estimated ambient air toxics exposures and their associated cancer risks using modeled concentration estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Air Toxics Assessment. We combined pollutant concentration estimates with potencies to calculate cancer risks by census tract for 309 metropolitan areas in the United States. This information was combined with socioeconomic status (SES) measures from the 1990 Census. Estimated cancer risks associated with ambient air toxics were highest in tracts located in metropolitan areas that were highly segregated. Disparities between racial/ethnic groups were also wider in more segregated metropolitan areas. Multivariate modeling showed that, after controlling for tract-level SES measures, increasing segregation amplified the cancer risks associated with ambient air toxics for all racial groups combined [highly segregated areas: relative cancer risk (RCR) = 1.04; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01–107; extremely segregated areas: RCR = 1.32; 95% CI, 1.28–1.36]. This segregation effect was strongest for Hispanics (highly segregated areas: RCR = 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01–1.17; extremely segregated areas: RCR = 1.74; 95% CI, 1.61–1.88) and weaker among whites (highly segregated areas: RCR = 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01–1.08; extremely segregated areas: RCR = 1.28; 95% CI, 1.24–1.33), African Americans (highly segregated areas: RCR = 1.09; 95% CI, 0.98–1.21; extremely segregated areas: RCR = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.24–1.53), and Asians (highly segregated areas: RCR = 1.10; 95% CI, 0.97–1.24; extremely segregated areas: RCR = 1.32; 95% CI, 1.16–1.51). Results suggest that disparities associated with ambient air toxics are affected by segregation and that these exposures may have health significance for populations across racial lines.

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          Most cited references 66

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          Rethinking Environmental Racism: White Privilege and Urban Development in Southern California

           Laura Pulido (2000)
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            The Dimensions of Residential Segregation

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              Neighborhood characteristics associated with the location of food stores and food service places

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Health Perspect
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
                0091-6765
                March 2006
                19 October 2005
                : 114
                : 3
                : 386-393
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, and
                [2 ] Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to R. Morello-Frosch, Brown University, Center for Environmental Studies and Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, 135 Angell St., Box 1943, Providence, RI 02912-1943 USA. Telephone: (401) 863-9429. Fax: (401) 863-3503. E-mail: rmf@brown.edu

                The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

                Article
                ehp0114-000386
                10.1289/ehp.8500
                1392233
                16507462
                This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI.
                Categories
                Research

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