Cancer and Environmental Risk
In March 2012 the State of Delaware's Division of Public Health released its 2003-2007 "Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware" report, which presented age-adjusted mortality rates by census tract. When reviewing this report, we were concerned that the information was presented in a manner that was difficult to understand. For example, the maps that showed the cancer rates for census tracts did not appear until page 176 of the report, tucked back in the appendix. Furthermore, we find it difficult to make sense of the relationships between cancer rates and environmental justice.
Using spatial analysis software, we have digitized the cancer data of the Delaware Division of Public Health's report and presented this information with meaningful environmental indicators, including the location of toxic releases and hazardous waste. The new maps generated by this analysis reveal pockets of environmental risk juxtaposed next to areas of alarmingly high cancer rates.
Environmental jusice concerns, the disporportionate distributions of environmental risk, are clearly demonstrated by this map of cancer rates and environmental risk. At the Sierra Club, and with our environmental justice partner organizations, we address these disparities through awareness and action.