Environmental Justice: Chemical Water Contamination in Arizona

Environmental justice (EJ) concerns the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards and pollution on vulnerable and marginalized communities. Previous studies have identified that these marginalized communities include low-income populations, people of color, and other relegated groups who may have limited access to resources, political power, and decision-making processes. In this study, I focus on the association between socio-economic variables (race, poverty rate, age segments of the population such as children and elderly people, gender) and concentrations or violations of arsenic, lead, and copper in drinking water in Arizona. The results show that the principal chemical contaminant in drinking water in the state is arsenic, with an average concentration in drinking water samples collected between 2009 to 2022 of 5 ug/L, which is significantly higher than the U.S. average level of 2 ug/L. For arsenic, there is a disproportionate exposure among low-income groups, Hispanic communities, and tracts with a higher proportion of children. The study also supports the disproportionate lead exposure for black communities and copper exposure for American Indian communities.


Benitez, Lina

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