Presentation Time: 9:50-10:10
Home University: UNC-Chapel Hill
Research Mentor: Rebecca Fry, Gillings School of Public Health
Research Title: Disparities in the location of Superfund site in the southern United States
Background: Superfund is a federally funded program implemented by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up hazardous waste sites. The National Priorities List (NPL) consists of Superfund sites that pose significant threats to the environment and human health. There are a total of 193 NPL sites in the states which encompass EPA region 4, in addition to 83 other alternative approach and deleted sites which are not currently on the NPL. The purpose of this study was to assess spatial disparities in the distribution to Superfund sites in EPA region 4, and the demographics of the communities surrounding these sites.
Methods: The 2015-2019 5-year American Community Survey census tract data was used to generate population demographics of communities located within specific proximities of the 276 Superfund sites in EPA region 4. These census tracks and demographics were analyzed using expanding buffer distances (1.0-10.0 miles) from Superfund sites. The correlation between demographic determinants and Superfund site proximity was then evaluated using regression analysis.
Results: Specific sociodemographic characteristics, including black, non-white, poverty, education status and unemployment, were negatively correlated with Superfund site proximity. This relationship was seen inversely in other sociodemographic groups, including white and homeownership, where percentages in these populations increase with distance from Superfund sites.