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Environmental Injustice and Lead (Pb) Contamination: Exploring Outcomes in Allegheny County, PA

Stancil, Jordan (2023) Environmental Injustice and Lead (Pb) Contamination: Exploring Outcomes in Allegheny County, PA. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Environmental injustice refers to the reality that certain individuals, particularly those from historically marginalized groups, and whose incomes are below the federal poverty threshold, bear a disproportionate burden of environmental risk in the population. This injustice has led to the continually growing Environmental Justice Movement which emphasizes the principle that every individual has a right to equal protection and enforcement of environmental regulations to promote their health and wellbeing, regardless of their place of residence. Landmark reports for this movement, such as the 1987 publication, “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States: A National Report on the Racial and Socioeconomic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites”, have demonstrated environmental injustices across the United States.

Despite the environmental justice movement’s rise in relevance throughout the past few decades, and the increase in research surrounding these injustices, largely avoidable tragedies continue to impact marginalized communities. One of the worst public health crises in recent history, and a stark example of environmental injustice, is the lead (Pb) contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan where over half of the population are people of color, with Black residents representing most of this percentage. The public health implications of the intersection between lead contamination and environmental injustice are also demonstrated locally in Allegheny County, where there are concerns surrounding Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLLs) in children residing in Environmental Justice Census tracts throughout the county. This review seeks to explore the coupled history of Pb contamination and environmental injustice on national and local levels, provide original spatial analyses of predictors and health outcomes related to Pb in Allegheny County, and discuss individual and systemic factors involved in promoting the health of communities disproportionately affected by Pb and other environmental contamination events.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stancil, Jordanjos292@pitt.edujos292
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFabisiak, Jamesfabs@pitt.edufabsUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMair, Christinacmair@pitt.educmairUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberPeterson, Jamesjimmyp@pitt.edujimmypUNSPECIFIED
Date: 17 May 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 24 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 48
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: health equity, pollution, spatial analysis
Date Deposited: 17 May 2023 15:47
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 15:47


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