The people most at risk from chemical disasters are communities of color and low income communities.
West, Texas. Louisville, Kentucky. Richmond, California. Charleston, West Virginia. Wilmington, Delaware. What do these communities have in common? They have all experienced chemical plant or storage explosions, leaks, and spills that threaten the health and safety of thousands or millions of people nearby. These cities are not alone; every day, millions of people live and work in the shadow of high-risk chemical plants that store and use extremely hazardous chemicals. In fact, 124 million Americans live within three miles of a chemical facility that threatens their lives with a potential chemical disaster. For too long, chemical companies have escaped responsibility for protecting workers and local residents by blocking efforts to prevent these disasters before they happen.
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 Environmental Justice Health Alliance, 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