community action, toxic, chemical safety, environmental justice, vulnerability, chemical facility, chemical hazard, fenceline
Why is this useful?
More than 134 million Americans live in the danger zones around 3,433 facilities in several common industries that store or use highly hazardous chemicals. But who are the people that live daily with the ever-present danger of a chemical disaster? This report presents new research showing that residents of chemical facility “vulnerability zones” are disproportionately Black (African American) or Latino, have higher rates of poverty than the U.S. as a whole, and have lower housing values, incomes, and education levels than the national average. The disproportionate or unequal danger is sharply magnified in the “fenceline” areas nearest the facilities. Action to prevent chemical disasters is needed now—workers, communities, businesses, and governments face severe potential costs to life, health, and finances from chemical hazards that are often unnecessary. Despite the fact that the U.S. experiences several serious toxic chemical releases every week, federal policies do not require companies to fully assess whether the chemicals they use or store could be replaced with safer alternatives. This report recommends policy solutions that can remove millions of Americans from potential harm in and around hazardous chemical facilities.