Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2020

Semester of Degree

May

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Chemistry

Department

Chemistry

Major Professor

Jaime Mirowksy

Steering Committee Member

Mark Teece

Steering Committee Member

Mary Collins

Abstract

It has been demonstrated that certain demographic groups – particularly minorities and low-income individuals – live disproportionately closer to polluting facilities. Therefore, we investigated the chemical releases from Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) facilities in four counties in Upstate New York (Albany, Erie, Monroe, and Onondaga Counties). Using hierarchal clustering, we created seven unique residential clusters from nine population demographics. We geocoded the polluting facilities into our residential clusters to determine if any demographic group was disproportionately exposed to the presence of TRI facilities. Next, the quantity, in pounds, of chemicals released were calculated, the chemicals released were weighted based upon their potential toxicity, and the Facility Scores from EPA’s Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) Model were obtained; the top five facilities with the highest Facility Scores per cluster were examined in detail to determine if any population demographic were disproportionately exposed to more severe chemicals.

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