The people most at risk from chemical disasters are communities of color and low-income communities.
Across the United States, over 12,000 high-risk chemical facilities put 39% of the US population (124 million people) who live within three miles of these sites at constant risk of a chemical disaster. The full vulnerability zones for these industrial and commercial sites can extend up to twenty-five miles in radius. Many communities of color and low-income communities face disproportionate risk from these facilities, and often face other health hazards such as high levels of toxic pollution. Fortunately, safer and cost-effective chemicals and processes are widely available for many uses. Coming Clean supports research, grassroots organizing, strategic communications, coalition building, and advocacy to draw attention to these hazards and push for solutions, including through our strategic partnership with the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, and through our facilitation of the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters.
Who’s in Danger from chemical incidents? Our research shows that the people most at risk from chemical disasters are communities of color and low income communities. What is Life at the Fenceline of chemical facilities like? Risk of chemical disasters, poverty, limited access to healthy food, and cancer and respiratory illness linked to air pollution abounds.
Fortunately, inherently safer and cost-effective chemicals or processes are widely available. And, through the work of Coming Clean and our partners, we're working to develop and implement protective policies which will benefit everyone in the U.S.—and especially people most vulnerable to chemical disasters.
Through our strategic partnership with the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Coming Clean is working with partner organizations to demand action from the White House, EPA and other federal agencies to save lives and prevent chemical disasters, including a requirement for chemical companies to switch to safer chemicals and processes wherever feasible. We’re also pursuing new standards to prevent leaks and contamination of our drinking water from above-ground chemical storage tanks following a legal settlement with EPA. Our work will help protect drinking water, air, and even the very lives of millions of people who live near hazardous chemical facilities across the nation.
Recent Reports & Resources
The Manchester neighborhood in Houston, Texas