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Appalachian Voices, Environmental Justice, and Community Health

Dr. Michele Morrone Department of Social and Public Health

The Cycle
Poor

people live in areas with poor environmental conditions Poor people are vulnerable to diseases related to the environment Disease contributes to poverty

Poverty

Environment

Disease

The

lower the socioeconomic position, the worse the health.


WHO, Closing the Gap, 2008

Ohio Socio-economic Indicators


Indicator NonAppalachian (56) $48,061 Appalachian (32) $38,364
Environment

Poverty

Median household income Mean percent unemployed Mean percent below the poverty line

7.70 11.21

9.09 17.23

Disease

Median housing value


Per capita income

$136,110
24,276

$106,259
19,733

Source: US Census, 2010

Unemployment Rates, August 2012


Counties in color are above the state rate of 6.8% PURPLE: 10% + YELLOW: 9.0-9.9% BLUE: 8.0-8.9% GRAY: 6.9-7.9% WHITE: <=6.8%
Highest unemployment rate Pike County (12.1%)

Children in Poverty
Percent of children under 18 below federal poverty line

(Source: University of Wisconsin, Population Health Institute, countyhealthrankings.org)

Poverty Rates, 2006-2010


Counties in color are above the state rate of 14.2%

Counties in blue are above 20.0%


Highest poverty rate: Athens County (30.3%)

Ohio Health Indicators


Indicator NonAppalachian Appalachian

Cancer rate per 100,000, ageadjusted


Cancer mortality rate per 100,000, age-adjusted Smoker (%) No physical activity (%) Overweight (%) Obese (%) Low birth rate (%)

448.12

465.64
Environment

Poverty

193.01

210.53

Disease

22.80 23.51 36.05 26.92 7.58

27.28 26.77 32.88 29.77 8.66

Source: Ohio Department of Health, Healthy Ohio Community Profiles, 2008

County Health Rankings


Mortality: how long people live; Morbidity: how healthy they are
(Source: University of Wisconsin, Population Health Institute, countyhealthrankings.org)

Cancer Incidence 2008


Counties in yellow are above the state rate of 465.1/100,000 Counties in purple are above 500/100,000 Highest cancer incidence = Jefferson County (539.8/100,000) (Source: Ohio Cancer Incidence
Surveillance System, ODH)

County Environmental Indicators


Indicator NonAppalachia n 1,441,609 Appalachia n Mean total TRI releases , lbs. (2010)1 Log TRI releases *Number of permitted facilities * TRI releases per permitted facility *TRI releases per manufacturing job2
* Differences are significant to .05
1. 2. Sources: USEPA, 2010 Toxic Release Inventory & Envirofacts Calculated from U.S. Census data

2,826,373

Poverty

5.38 (1.02) 5.42 (1.35)

Environment
Disease

617
2,717 117

229
13,831 839

Top 10 TRI Counties in Ohio


7 Appalachian counties = 45.35% of total state releases
(Source: USEPA, 2010 TRI)

Contents
1. Perspectives
2. Citizen Action 3. In Their Own Words

Places Discussed in Mountains of Injustice

In Their Own Words


Housewives

from Hell: Perspectives on Environmental Justice and Facility Siting


(Michele Morrone and Wren Kruse)

Stories
Allen)

About Mountaintop Removal In The Appalachian Coalfields (Geoff Buckley and Laura

Save The Children


one of the reasons that I started looking into this at all is that there were several children in my community that had strange illnesses or you know, my daughter had a bone tumor.

Trust
I

think is people were really up in arms and furious that our own government could secretively do this to a community and not tell anybody.

Jobs vs Environment
I

think they also dangle jobs, which is the economic piece. I think jobs are dangled in poor communities and you know, Well come in well have 500 jobs. When we know thats a big fat lie.

Home-Schooled Activists
So

theres health issues, theres outrage, theres getting yourself empowered and organized, and then theres education. Then you get yourself educated so you know what youre talking about cause thats one of the things theyll get you on if you start raising hell about things and you dont know what youre talking about.

Environmental Justice
I

think environmental justice is about how companies, whether theyre the government or private industry or whatever, think they can just come into anybodys neighborhood and build anything they want and do anything they want under a veil of secrecy

Photo credit: Vivian Stockman