Houston Matters

Report Underscores Disparity in Chemical Exposure and Health Risks in Houston Communities

The Union of Concerned Scientists and TEJAS – Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services – published a report today (Oct. 27, 2016) which outlines the disproportionate risk some communities in Greater Houston face from chemical exposure as a result of both everyday air pollution and occasional industrial accidents. Of course, there’s nothing particularly new about that. […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public MediaThe Union of Concerned Scientists and TEJAS – Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services – published a report today (Oct. 27, 2016) which outlines the disproportionate risk some communities in Greater Houston face from chemical exposure as a result of both everyday air pollution and occasional industrial accidents.

Of course, there’s nothing particularly new about that. And you could probably guess which areas of town are under greatest threat. Naturally, those near the Houston Ship Channel on the east side, like Galena Park, for example.

But these organizations in their report seek to bring that disproportionate risk into greater focus by directly comparing those risks and exposures in an area like Galena Park to wealthier areas on the west side of Houston, like Bellaire. And they don’t just make a geographic or economic distinction. The report also notes a racial disparity. Galena Park and the Harrisburg/Manchester areas are predominantly Hispanic. The Bellaire and West Oaks/Eldridge areas are predominantly white.

We discuss the report, and the implications within it with Yvette Arellano from Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services.

(Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media)

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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