Now, by entering your ZIP code into a new Web site, you can get answers to questions like these, based on data collected from your neighborhood. Launched by the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit group Environmental Defense, this fact-filled site compiles information from over 400 scientific and governmental databases to provide a detailed picture of how factors such as income, race and education correlate with exposure to environmental burdens.
University of Texas Law Professor Gerald Torres believes the site creates "the capacity for people at the grassroots level to do their own analysis," whether they live in rural Montana or the heart of metropolitan Phoenix. Available in both English and Spanish, the site highlights four measures of environmental burden: local releases of toxic chemicals, cancer risks from hazardous air pollutants, and proximity to Superfund sites and to facilities that spew any of six common air pollutants.
For more information, go to www.scorecard.org or contact Environmental Defense at 510/658-8008.