Saturday, September 3, 2022

Environmental Justice Index

I love a good mapping tool and online interactive. The Environmental Justice Index is just that type of tool that can help communities become aware (and track) environmental risks. Using a combination of data from the US Census, EPA, CDC, and more, the Environmental Justice Index helps track a myriad of information.

From their Fact Sheet

"The Environmental Justice Index (EJI) is the first national, place-based tool designed to measure the cumulative impacts of environmental burden through the lens of human health and health equity. The EJI delivers a single score for each community so that public health officials can identify and map areas most at risk for the health impacts of environmental burden. Social factors such as poverty, race, and ethnicity, along with pre-existing health conditions may increase these impacts. This tool helps public health officials prioritize action for those communities most at need."

The Environmental Justice Index tracks the following Health Index Indicators (click here for the PDF & graphic organizer):
  • Social vulnerability
    • Racial/Ethnic Minority Status 
      • Minority Status
    • Socioeconomic Status
      • Poverty
      •  No High School Diploma
      • Unemployment
      • Housing Tenure
      • Housing Burdened Lower-Income Households
      • Lack of Health Insurance
      • Lack of Broadband Access
    • Household Characteristics
      • Age 65 and Older
      • Age 17 and Younger
      • Civilian with a Disability
      • Speaks English “Less than Well”
    • Housing Type
      • Group Quarters
      • Mobile Homes
  • Environmental Burden
    • Air Pollution
      • Ozone
      • PM2.5
      •  Diesel Particulate Matter
      • Air Toxics Cancer Risk
    • Potentially Hazardous and Toxic Sites
      • National Priority List Sites
      • Toxic Release Inventory Sites
      • Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Sites
      • Risk Management Plan Sites
      • Coal Mines
      • Lead Mines
    • Built Environment
      • Recreational Parks
      •  Houses Built Pre-1980
      • Walkability
    • Transportation Infrastructure
      •  High-Volume Roads
      • Railways
      • Airports
    • Water Pollution
      • Impaired Surface Water
  • Health Vulnerability 
    • Pre-existing Chronic Disease Burden 
      • Asthma
      • Cancer 
      • High Blood Pressure
      • Diabetes
      • Poor Mental Health
All of this definitely highlights the intersectionalism of all of these issues and why environmental justice is social justice.

The Environmental Justice Index Interactive itself allows you to put in a location and then zoom in to see where its overall index falls between high, moderate to high, low to moderate, low, and no data. I was able to zoom into both my hometown county and city. I was able to get a lot of data--down to how high the prevalence of blood pressure is (or any on the list above). It's a lot of data on one location!

Indented quote from, image from

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