Chemical Exposure, Obesity
and Diabetes in Communities
of Color and Low Income
Communities
Presentation to the
Chemicals, Obesity and Diabetes Conference
By
Mark A. Mitchell M.D., MPH
Mitchell Environmental Health Associates
October 14, 2011
Thanks to the sponsors
Environmental Health Strategy
Center
Colby College Environmental Studies
Program
and
Goldfarb Center
for including this important topic
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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Conflict Declaration
I Have No Commercial Interests
in Products or Services
Presented
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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Overview
I will present:
Definition of environmental justice
 Link between EJ and obesogens
 Prevalence of obesity in Blacks and Latinos
 Chemical exposures in Blacks and Latinos
 Increased vulnerability factors
 How low income people can decrease risks

Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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What is Environmental Justice?

The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency defines Environmental Justices
as:

”The fair treatment and meaningful
involvement of all people regardless of race,
color, national origin, or income with respect
to the development, implementation, and
enforcement of environmental laws,
regulations, and policies.”
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October 14, 2011
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What is Environmental Justice?
Continued

Fair treatment means that no group of people,
including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group
should bear a disproportionate share of the
negative environmental consequences resulting
from industrial, municipal, and commercial
operations or the execution of federal, state, local,
and tribal programs and policies.”
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October 14, 2011
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Environmental Justice is About
Health




Environmental Hazards Disproportionately Located
in Low-income and Black and Latino Neighborhoods
Contributes to Health Disparities
Environmental Injustice is Institutional Racism
EJ is about Stopping Environmental Injustice and
Changing Environmental Policy to reduce Health
Effects
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October 14, 2011
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Point Source Air Pollution Emissions
in Connecticut 2000
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What Does Environmental Justice
Have to do With Obesogens?

High and disproportionate exposure

Increased vulnerability

Probable increased effects
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October 14, 2011
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State-specific Prevalence of Obesity*
Among U.S. Adults, by Race/Ethnicity,
NHANES 2006-2008
White non-Hispanic
(*BMI 30)
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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State-specific Prevalence of Obesity*
Among U.S. Adults, by Race/Ethnicity,
NHANES 2006-2008
Hispanic
(*BMI
30)
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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State-specific Prevalence of Obesity*
Among U.S. Adults, by Race/Ethnicity,
NHANES 2006-2008
Black non-Hispanic
(*BMI
30)
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
12
State-specific Prevalence of Obesity*
Among U.S. Adults, by Race/Ethnicity,
2006-2008
Black non-Hispanic
White non-Hispanic
Hispanic
(*BMI
30)
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Prevalence of obesity, by region
and race/ethnicity, 2006-2008

Blacks had the highest prevalence,
followed by Hispanics, and Whites

For Blacks
Overall prevalence of obesity—35.7%
− Prevalence ranged from 23.0% (New
Hampshire) to 45.1% (Maine)
−
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Summary (Cont’d)

For Hispanics
− Overall prevalence of obesity—28.7%
− Lower prevalence was observed in the
Northeast

For Whites
− Overall prevalence of obesity—23.7%
− Higher prevalences were found in the
Midwest and South
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Common Environmental Justice
Issues Linked to Chemical Policy
Land and Solid Waste
Pollution






Landfills and Dumps
Brownfields
Hazardous Waste
Abandoned Storage Drums
of Chemicals
PCB’s in Soil
TCE Contaminated Soil
Air Toxics


Trash, Sewage Sludge and
Other Incinerators
Indoor air contaminants
Water Contamination



Chemical and
Pharmaceutical Sewage
Contamination
Fish Contamination with
PCB’s
Sewage Sludge
Compost/Pellets
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October 14, 2011
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Common Environmental Justice
Issues Linked to Chemical Policy
Industrial Pollution


Local Business
Toxins



Cement Kilns
Agricultural Pesticides
Toxic Release Inventory
(TRI) Listed Facilities



Refineries
Chemical Plants
Plastics/Rubber Factories
Pharmaceutical Plants
Industrial or Chemical
Fires/Explosions/Spills
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Common Environmental Justice
Issues Linked to Chemical Policy






Consumer Product Exposures
Discount Store Selling Toxic Toys
Home Pesticides
Cosmetics/Personal Care Products
BPA in canned food and drink containers
Lead in tire weights
Legacy lead in paint
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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Ethnic Cosmetic Toxicants

Hair relaxers:
sometimes
contain placenta
(linked with early
puberty in
children,
toddlers)
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Exposure Over the Chemical Lifecycle

Production


Transportation and storage


canned goods, lead tire weights
Disposal


accidents, fires, spills
Use


fenceline exposure, maintenance
incinerators, landfills (LBW)
Legacy

PCB’s, DDT, lead based paint
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Vulnerability

Malnutrition
 Lead
absorbtion
 PBT’s

Psychosocial stress
 Income
disparity
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What Can Low Income People Do?








Wash fruits and vegetables to reduce pesticides
If they can’t eat organic, then low-fat foods,
especially milk, meats and eggs
Look for hormone and antibiotic free meat and
eggs
Don’t microwave in plastic containers or allow
plastic wrap to touch hot food
Look for BPA-free plastic water bottles and baby
bottles
Don’t buy PVC plastic containers
Eat fresh, frozen, or glass bottled rather than
canned foods and drinks
Join organizations that work on chemical policy
Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes Conference
October 14, 2011
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Summary
Defined environmental justice
 Link between EJ and obesogens
 Higher obesity rates in Blacks and Latinos
 Higher chemical exposures in Blacks and
Latinos
 Increased vulnerability factors
 How low income people can decrease risks

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October 14, 2011
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Contact information
Mark A. Mitchell M.D., MPH
Mitchell Environmental Health Associates
[email protected]
(860) 794-9497
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Table. Prevalence of obesity, by region and race/ethnicity, 2006-2008
Non-Hispanic white
Non-Hispanic black
Hispanic
Both sexes
23.7
35.7
28.7
Men
25.4
31.6
27.8
Women
21.8
39.2
29.4
Both sexes
22.6
31.7
26.6
Men
25.0
26.5
26.9
Women
20.0
36.1
26.0
Both sexes
25.4
36.3
29.6
Men
27.0
32.1
29.7
Women
23.8
40.1
29.2
Both sexes
24.4
36.9
29.2
Men
26.3
32.6
28.3
Women
22.5
40.6
29.7
Both sexes
21.0
33.1
29.0
Men
22.1
34.1
27.3
Women
Conference
19.8 Chemicas Obesity and Diabetes 32.0
Total
Northeast
Midwest
South
West
October 14, 2011
30.4
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