Allen S, Fanucchi MV, McCormick LC, Zierold KM. The Search for Environmental Justice: The Story of North Birmingham. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jun 14;16(12):2117. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16122117. PMID: 31207973; PMCID: PMC6617205.
Environmental justice is a rising social movement throughout the world. Research is beginning to define the movement and address the disparities that exist among communities exposed to pollution. North Birmingham, a community made up of six neighborhoods in Jefferson County, Alabama, in the United States, is a story of environmental injustice. Heavy industry, including the 35th Avenue Superfund Site, has caused significant environmental pollution over time, leaving residents concerned that their health and well-being are at risk from continued exposure. For years, pollution has impacted the community, and residents have fought and challenged industry and government. The United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) in Alabama have historically played a role in working with the community regarding their health concerns. In this manuscript, we describe a city entrenched in environmental injustice. We provide the history of the community, the responsible parties named for the contamination, the government's involvement, and the community's response to this injustice. Through this manuscript, we offer insight into a global concern that challenges local communities on a daily basis.
Shauntice Allen 1, Michelle V Fanucchi 2, Lisa C McCormick 3, Kristina M Zierold 4