NIH Research Festival
Introduction: In the United States (U.S.) industrial pollution disproportionately burdens under-resourced communities, but little is known about the amount of exposure to carcinogenic air pollutants. We assessed exposures to carcinogenic industrial emissions by population characteristics in a large cohort.
Methods: We used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nationwide database of regulated chemical emissions from industrial facilities to estimate historical exposures (1987-1995) to 21 known and 30 probable carcinogens for female participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (n=177,806). We estimated emissions from facilities within 2km of the enrollment residence and compared exposure prevalence by race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and a census tract-level neighborhood deprivation index. We used ordinal logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing the highest category of emissions (highest tertile (T3) or >90th percentile) to the referent group (zero emissions) for all sociodemographic characteristics.
Results: The majority identified as non-Hispanic White, followed by non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic/Latina and Asian. Black women were nearly twice as likely as White women to live within 2km of an exposure source. In adjusted models, compared to White women, Asian (OR=1.4, CI 1.2-1.5), Black (OR=1.4, CI 1.3-1.5), and Hispanic/Latina (OR=1.5, CI 1.4-1.6) women had 1.4-1.6 times greater exposure burden to any known or probable carcinogen. Low educational attainment and high neighborhood deprivation were associated with up to 2-fold higher odds of being heavily exposed.
Conclusions: We demonstrated notable disparities in environmental exposure to airborne carcinogens by race/ethnicity and individual and neighborhood-level measures of education and deprivation.
Scientific Focus Area: ACI/IRS
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