From: Michelle Samuels
Published November 10, 2017 10:36 AM

Air pollution exposure inequality persists in Massachusetts

“Although ambient air pollution concentrations have decreased across all of Massachusetts, these reductions had a higher relative impact on populations that were already in the lowest exposure categories, hence the increase in exposure inequality,” says Patricia Fabian, research assistant professor of environmental health and the study’s senior author.

While numerous previous studies have shown disparities in air pollution exposure at one point in time, the current study was one of the first to track those disparities over space and time, allowing for a more nuanced picture of exposures as demographics shift in a given area.

Using data from the 2000 and 2010 Census and the 2006–2010 American Community Survey on race/ethnicity, income, educational attainment, and rural/urban land classification, the researchers calculated exposures using modeled PM2.5 concentrations from 2003 to 2010 and NO2 concentrations from 2005 to 2010. The researchers then characterized the disparities using the Atkinson Index, a quantitative measure for relative inequality.

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