Mark Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, July 23, 1998 p723K3223 Minority areas shouldn't be a dumping ground for Japanese corporations' toxic chemicals. (Originated from) Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1998 Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service By Robert D. Bullard ATLANTA _ During its 28-year history, the U.S. EPA has not always recognized that many of our government and industry practices have adverse impact on poor people and people of color.
Beginning under the Bush administration, the EPA initiated steps to address growing environmental justice concerns. In 1992, EPA Administrator William Reilly set up an Environmental Equity Work Group, established an Office of Environmental Equity (the office was later renamed the Office of Environmental Justice under the Clinton administration), and published a groundbreaking report titled ``Environmental Equity: Reducing Risks for all Communities.'' Numerous studies, including my 1994 book titled ``Unequal Protection,'' document that people of color have borne greater health and environmental risks than the society at large when it comes to workplace hazards, the distribution of freeways, municipal landfills, incinerators, abandoned toxic waste dumps, lead smelters and air pollution.
National Argonne Laboratory researchers report that 57 percent of whites, 65 percent of African Americans, and 80 percent of Hispanics live in counties with substandard air quality.
Lead poisoning is a major environmental justice concern. Children of color are more likely to suffer from lead poisoning than their white counterparts.
Some 28.4 percent of all low-income African American children are lead poisoned compared to 9.8 percent of low-income white children.
In 1991, a coalition of environmental and civil rights groups won a major out-of-court settlement against California worth $15 million to $20 million. The lawsuit forced the state of California to conduct federally mandated lead testing of poor children who receive Medicaid.
In response to mounting scientific evidence, President Clinton on Feb. 11, 1994, signed an...