Utilization of the Maryland Environmental Justice Screening Tool: A Bladensburg, Maryland Case Study

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2019-01-26

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Driver, A.; Mehdizadeh, C.; Bara-Garcia, S.; Bodenreider, C.; Lewis, J.; Wilson, S. Utilization of the Maryland Environmental Justice Screening Tool: A Bladensburg, Maryland Case Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 348.

Abstract

Maryland residents’ knowledge of environmental hazards and their health effects is limited, partly due to the absence of tools to map and visualize distribution of risk factors across sociodemographic groups. This study discusses the development of the Maryland EJSCREEN (MD EJSCREEN) tool by the National Center for Smart Growth in partnership with faculty at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The tool assesses environmental justice risks similarly to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) EJSCREEN tool and California’s tool, CalEnviroScreen 3.0. We discuss the architecture and functionality of the tool, indicators of importance, and how it compares to USEPA’s EJSCREEN and CalEnviroScreen. We demonstrate the use of MD EJSCREEN through a case study on Bladensburg, Maryland, a town in Prince George’s County (PG) with several environmental justice concerns including air pollution from traffic and a concrete plant. Comparison reveals that environmental and demographic indicators in MD EJSCREEN most closely resemble those in EPA EJSCREEN, while the scoring is most similar to CalEnviroScreen. Case study results show that Bladensburg has a Prince George’s environmental justice score of 0.99, and that National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) air toxics cancer risk is concentrated in communities of color.

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