89.1 WEMU

U-M Researchers: Low Income And Minority Communities Are Targets For Hazardous Waste Industries

Jan 21, 2016

Train on Zug Island
Credit Jason Koxvold/ Wikipedia

 University of Michigan researchers say low income and minority communities are targeted as sites for hazardous waste facilities.


Using U.S. Census data, researchers found a pattern of hazardous waste sites being built near poor and minority communities.

U-M's Environmental Studies Professor Paul Mohai explains that this study clears up the question of whether toxic waste facilities cause demographic changes or are intentionally built near low income communities.

"What our study shows is there’s a pattern that, for whatever reason, they’re [hazardous waste facilities] resulting in being placed disproportionately in places where people of color or poor people live.”

Mohai says the study looked at the location of 319 hazardous waste sites built in the U.S. between 1966 to 1995. He says this is the first long term environmental justice study of its kind. 

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- Amanda LeClaire is a reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU. Contact her at aleclaire@wemu.org.