The Distribution of Environmental Contaminants: a Socio-Historical Study of Selected Neighborhoods in Dallas County, Texas
Description: This research expands on recent sociological studies which maintain that environmental contaminants in America are disproportionately placed in neighborhoods inhabited by minorities and the poor. Prior studies have focused on the predictor variables which identify areas of contamination near residential neighborhoods, yet fail to explore the socio-political and historical factors which contribute to these phenomena. The Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory 1990 database, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission's Annual Report of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Program for 1992, and the U.S. Census Bureau's 1990 Census Data for Dallas County were utilized in pinpointing industries violating toxic release standards. Socio-historical data was obtained from government and historical records and reports, books, and newspaper clippings on Dallas County. Maps and data were obtained from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and the cities of Dallas and Garland. Chapter I discusses the synergetic forces of capitalism, urban growth, uneven development, and settlement patterns resulting in the distribution of environmental contaminants. Chapter II reviews the literature and presents evidence that race and class are strong predictors of where environmental contaminants are located. Chapter III outlines the data and methods employed. Chapter IV traces the historical development of Dallas County. Chapter V details those political, economic, and social factors contributing to the convergence of people and contaminants within three selected neighborhoods. The forces which historically relegate minorities, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, and the poor to less desirable jobs, cheaper housing, and land costs are also explored. Cheap land and labor attract industry which, in turn, attracts more laborers. Chapter VI, the summary and conclusions, utilizes the socio-spatial approach in examining urban infrastructure development (i.e. roads and railways) which also reduces adjacent land costs making housing more affordable for minorities and the poor. This study concludes that because of historical development and ...
Date: December 1997
Creator: Cutrer, Jennifer G.