L. J. Arroyo, Rakesh Malhotra, Saundra DeLauder, and Yolanda Banks-Anderson. North Carolina Central Univ, 1801 Fayetteville St, Dept of Environmental, Earth, and Geospatial Sciences, Durham, NC 27707
The Environmental Risk and Impact in Communities of Color and Economically Disadvantaged Communities Project is a cooperative effort between North Carolina Central University and the US EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory in Durham, NC to assist communities address local environmental justice issues. Studies conducted across the nation indicate that low-income Hispanic and color communities live and work in urban and agricultural areas where they face potential risk of exposure to environmental toxic chemicals (EPA, 1991; NRDC, 2004). Durham community members, named Partners Against Crime (PAC), have participated in decisions about activities that may affect their environment. PAC members helped lead the study. Industrial facilities, auto recycling shops, and fetid odor coming from creeks were identified as potential risk to children and bystanders for contaminants exposure. The mismanagement of hazardous waste in junkyards facilities such as motor oil, gasoline, hydraulic oil, antifreeze, broken electrical switches, and battery acid containing heavy metals is a threat of potential contamination to surface and underground water. Furthermore, while the number of farms in NC has dropped drastically since 1970, Durham County is still economically counted as a tobacco, soybean, and maize producer. Some of those farms areas are now urbanized. Halogenated pesticides which are considered persistent organic pollutants were largely used in such crops until 1973. Water and sediments from creeks in and around the study area will be monitored in order to compile a list of contaminants of concern, and determine the potential impact on human health in these communities.