Environmental Health Injustice: Exposure to Air Toxics and Children’s Respiratory Hospital Admissions

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Sara E. Grineski, Timothy W. Collins, Jayajit Chakraborty & Yolanda J. McDonald (2013) Environmental Health Injustice: Exposure to Air Toxics and Children's Respiratory Hospital Admissions in El Paso, Texas, The Professional Geographer, 65:1, 31-46, DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2011.639625


Although much environmental justice research tacitly assumes that unequal environmental exposures produce geographic disparities in adverse health outcomes, very few empirical environmental justice studies have tested that assumption. This article does so by using estimates of exposure to air toxics disaggregated by emission source (point and mobile) to predict children's hospitalization rates for both asthma and respiratory infections in El Paso, Texas. Air toxics emissions from most source categories were found to be significant predictors of children's respiratory infection hospitalization rates, but not asthma hospitalization rates, at the census tract level. Findings suggest that sociospatial disparities in respiratory infection rates might be linked to environmental inequalities.