Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

A long view of polluting industry and environmental justice in Baltimore
Boone, Christopher
Co-Authors: Morgan Grove, Geoff Buckley

Abstract: Although industries shed thousands of good paying jobs since the 1950s, Baltimoreans have to live with the costs of still-functioning and polluting industry. In 2006, more than 24 million pounds of toxic pollutants were released into the air, water, and land, far greater than any of the surrounding counties in Maryland. Residents of Baltimore City endured 37 pounds of toxins released per person compared to 3 to 6 pounds per person for the suburban counties. However, when we zoom down to finer spatial scales, a curious pattern emerges. Most of the facilities that release toxins are found in or near white rather than black neighborhoods. A variety of institutional and urban dynamics help to explain this unexpected result, which we have explained elsewhere. The purpose of this paper is to explore if the spatial coincidence of polluting industry and white neighborhoods has persisted over time. We use historical records from the Dun&Bradstreet directories, the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, and census data from 1960 to the present to investigate these relationships.