The Common Good
August 2007

Brownfields Forever

by Rose Marie Berger, Jonathan Mendez | August 2007

The United Church of Christ has been on the forefront of environmental justice since the 1980s, when it published Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States. That report revealed the ...

The United Church of Christ has been on the forefront of environmental justice since the 1980s, when it published Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States. That report revealed the disproportionate number of toxic dumps in predominately African-American, Latino, and American Indian communities. Environmental laws are still weak in those areas, according to a new UCC-commissioned study called Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987-2007. The current report found that more than 5.1 million people—out of the more than 9 million living within 1.8 miles of one or more hazardous waste sites—are people of color. What else?

  • 413: The number of commercial hazardous waste facilities in the United States.

  • 17: The number of Los Angeles neighborhoods with hazardous waste facilities. Detroit has 12; Houston has 10.

  • 90.9 percent of people in Los Angeles neighborhoods with hazardous waste facilities are people of color.

  • 47.7: Percentage of people of color living within 1 kilometer (6/10 of a mile) of hazardous waste sites in the U.S.

  • 20.1: The percentage of people in poverty who live within 1 kilometer of hazardous waste sites.

  • 12.7: The percentage of people in poverty who live beyond 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) of hazardous waste sites.

Source: "Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987-2007" (United Church of Christ, March 2007).

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