Socioeconomic factors include income, ethnicity, sense of community
and other such factors. Studies have shown that certain segments of
society are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards, and may
be more vulnerable to such hazards than other populations (American
Lung Association, 2001;
In general, residents in low income, minority
neighborhoods are more likely to live near:
- chemical waste dumping sites;
- electric power plants;
- municipal incinerators;
- solid waste landfills;
- industrial plants; and
- heavily traveled roadways.
These neighborhoods are also more likely to have abandoned lots, auto-body shops, concrete crushing facilities
and other sources of pollution than more affluent neighborhoods. This is
especially true in the Houston area because of the lack of zoning.
Low income, minority populations are also more likely to live in older
housing that may have lead-based paint, unventilated gas stoves or heaters,
and/or mold or insect problems.