A small number of “hyper-polluters” doing the most harm, mostly to communities of color

A recent study published in Environmental Rsearch Letters concludes that a relatively small number of polluting facilities is responsible for the greatest amount of pollution. And, this promarily affects communities of color or low-icome areas.

This research relies on two data sources?the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Screening Environmental Indicators-Geographic Microdata (RSEI-GM) from 2007 and the US Census of Population and Households from 2000. Results of the analysis provide strong evidence that toxic outliers exist. And, as they isolated the points with the highest exposure estimates, a greater density of low income households and nonwhite populations were found. "In an analysis of all permitted industrial facilities across the United States, we show that there exists a class of hyper-polluters – the worst-of-the-worst – that disproportionately expose communities of color and low income populations to chemical releases."

Linking ‘toxic outliers’ to environmental justice communities Mary B Collins, Ian Munoz and Joseph JaJa Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 1 (in a special issue, Focus on Environmental Justice: New Directions in International Research).