Environmental Racism Collection 2021

We compiled our first Environmental Racism Collection in the summer of 2020. As the reaction to George Floyd’s murder evolved, we, along with many communities, developed a deeper understanding of what “Black Lives Matter” really means, and we have begun to grasp what authentic systemic change will require. Today, as we write the introduction for the 2021 version of our collection, confronting racism in America continues to be of paramount importance. It is timely to rededicate ourselves to this topic.

Last year we issued a call for papers that explicitly address environmental racism. With this collection, we present several newly accepted papers. Some of these papers report studies on the downstream effects of systemic racism. Others delve into how researchers can measure racism, enabling us to study it directly rather than rely on sometimes-questionable proxies to estimate effects. We are also honored to present the transcript of the inaugural Olden Distinguished Lecture, presented by former NIEHS director Kenneth Olden.

We have spent the past year reflecting on what small part we, as a scholarly journal, might play in combating environmental racism. As an organization, we believe our service is best offered in changing how racial/ethnic disparities are studied and reported in the environmental health sciences, and in supporting and promoting environmental racism as a rightful area of much-needed study. We have enacted new requirements for authors of studies of racial/ethnic differences in health or exposure risks. We also expect reviewers to critically examine all proposed explanations for racial health disparities. Finally, we are calling upon authors, reviewers, and editors from underrepresented groups to help shape EHP’s path forward.

Although this collection focuses on issues facing Black Americans, we recognize that anti-Black racism is not limited to the United States, nor does environmental racism affect only Black communities. American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations face increased health risks in many areas as a result of historic racism, as demonstrated by our curated collection on Indigenous health. In many situations, Hispanic (sometimes called Latinx) populations also experience health disparities; for example, along with AI/AN populations, they had the most COVID-19 deaths in 2020, in large part due to historic inequities in social determinants of health. We continue to invite authors to submit papers on all populations that have been affected by environmental racism.

The Editors, Environmental Health Perspectives

Original Research

NEW! Redlines and Greenspace: The Relationship between Historical Redlining and 2010 Greenspace across the United States (Nardone et al. 2021)

Related Science Selection
Walking on a Redline: Did Discriminatory U.S. Housing Policies Affect Greenspace Development?

Race/Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, Residential Segregation, and Spatial Variation in Noise Exposure in the Contiguous United States (Casey et al. 2017)

Related Science Selection
Inequality of Noise Exposures: A Portrait of the United States

Changes in Transportation-Related Air Pollution Exposures by Race-Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status: Outdoor Nitrogen Dioxide in the United States in 2000 and 2010 (Clark et al. 2017)

Race/Ethnicity-Specific Associations of Urinary Phthalates with Childhood Body Mass in a Nationally Representative Sample (Trasande et al. 2013)

The Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Heat Risk-Related Land Cover in Relation to Residential Segregation (Jesdale et al. 2013)

Air Pollution from Industrial Swine Operations and Blood Pressure of Neighboring Residents (Wing et al. 2013)

Land Application of Treated Sewage Sludge: Community Health and Environmental Justice (Lowman et al. 2013)

Environmental Inequality in Exposures to Airborne Particulate Matter Components in the United States (Bell and Ebisu 2012)

Implementation of Evidence-based Asthma Interventions in Post-Katrina New Orleans: The Head-off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL) Study (Mitchell et al. 2012)

Associations between the Quality of the Residential Built Environment and Pregnancy Outcomes among Women in North Carolina (Miranda et al. 2012)

Race, Wealth, and Solid Waste Facilities in North Carolina (Norton et al. 2007)

Quantifying the Efficiency and Equity Implications of Power Plant Air Pollution Control Strategies in the United States (Levy et al. 2007)

Separate and Unequal: Residential Segregation and Estimated Cancer Risks Associated with Ambient Air Toxics in US Metropolitan Areas (Morello-Frosch and Jesdale 2006)

Related Science Selection
The Cancer Differential: Minorities in Racially Segregated Urban Areas at Higher Risk than Whites

Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in Cancer Risk from Air Toxics in Maryland (Apelberg et al. 2005)


Strategies to Improve Private-Well Water Quality: A North Carolina Perspective (Gibson and Pieper 2017)

Related Science Selection
Unwell: The Public Health Implications of Unregulated Drinking Water

Environmental Health Disparities: A Framework Integrating Psychosocial and Environmental Concepts (Gee and Payne-Sturges 2004)


NEW! Adopting a “Compound” Exposome Approach in Environmental Aging Biomarker Research: A Call to Action for Advancing Racial Health Equity (Nwanaji-Enwerem et al. 2021)

NEW! Confronting Racism in Environmental Health Sciences: Moving the Science Forward for Improving Racial Inequities (Payne-Sturges et al. 2021)

Legitimizing Values in Regulatory Science (Fernandez Pinto and Hicks 2019)

Community Health and Socioeconomic Issues Surrounding Concentrated Feeding Operations (Donham et al. 2007)

The Environmental “Riskscape” and Social Inequality: Implications for Explaining Maternal and Child Health Disparities (Morello-Frosch and Shenassa 2006)

Social and Physical Environments and Disparities in Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: The Healthy Environments Partnership Conceptual Model (Schulz et al. 2005)

Exploration of Work and Health Disparities among Black Women Employed in Poultry Processing in the Rural South (Lipscomb et al. 2005)


NEW! Confronting Environmental Racism (Kaufman and Hajat 2021)

NEW! The Inaugural Olden Distinguished Lecture: Economic Inequality and Health Disparities (Olden 2021)

Health, Equity, and the Built Environment (Frumkin 2005)

Feature Articles

NEW! A Different Kind of Storm: Natech Events in Houston’s Fenceline Communities (2021)
Proximity to industrial neighbors puts fenceline communities in a double bind. Besides daily exposure to potentially toxic emissions, they also run the risk of so-called natech events.

New Blood: The Promise of Environmental Health Citizen Science Projects (2017)
Citizen science projects have the potential to democratize science by exposing a greater and more diverse section of the population to the scientific process.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Research Studies: The Challenge of Creating More Diverse Cohorts (2015)
A failure to create more racially diverse research cohorts could exacerbate existing health disparities if those most affected by disease continue to be excluded.

Arising from the Ashes? Environmental Health in Detroit (2014)
Without visiting Detroit, it is easy to imagine a ruined metropolis. But even the most cursory inspection offers evidence of a remarkable resilience.

CAFOs and Environmental Justice: The Case of North Carolina (2013)
Families in certain rural communities of eastern North Carolina must deal daily with the piercing, acrid odor of hog manure wafting from nearby industrial farms.

Stress–Pollution Interactions: An Emerging Issue in Children’s Health Research (2011)
Does chronic psychological stress enhance child’s vulnerability to certain chemical exposures, contributing to health effects later in life?


Last updated 21 May 2021