Topic: Environmental justice, climate change

Flooding events resulting in unintentional releases of toxic substances are becoming more frequent, posing potential health risks to residents living near sites that store or use hazardous materials.  This project will integrate data on 1) excess contaminant emissions to air, soil and water during flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey; 2) nationwide spatial probabilistic projections of coastal flooding that take into account rising seas; 3) the location and hazardous materials present at contaminated sites including cleanup and hazardous waste sites, industrial and wastewater treatment facilities; and 4) indicators of biological susceptibility and social vulnerability related to age, sex, disability status, income, education, linguistic isolation, and other factors, to characterize the environmental health risks associated with flooding of contaminated sites in U.S. coastal counties. The overarching goal is to spatially analyze and widely communicate the health risks of coastal flooding of contaminated sites in disadvantaged communities.

Research Team:
Lara Cushing, PhD
Rachel, Morello-Frosch, PhD, MPH
Benjamin Strauss, PhD, MS
Scott Kulp, PhD

Community Partner: Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services

Funding Source: US Environmental Protection Agency, grant # 84003901


  • LJ Cushing, Y Ju, S Kulp, N Depsky,  S Karasaki, J Jaeger, A Raval, B Strauss, R Morello-Frosch. Toxic tides and environmental injustice: Social vulnerability to sea level rise and flooding of hazardous sites in coastal California. Environmental Science and Technology. In Press.