The Center for Health, Environment & Justice started the Unequal Response, Unequal Protection campaign to address the federal government’s ongoing failure to protect communities exposed to toxic chemicals. This failure stems from the lack of a structured federal response capacity and inadequate scientific methods for investigating chemically-associated health outcomes. Health investigations typically take years to complete and rarely generate meaningful action for communities. Additionally, The current response has a disparate impact on low-wealth populations and communities of color who disproportionately endure environmental hazards.
Project Objective and Progress
Our goal is to engage community leaders in developing a community-driven framework for conducting health investigations that prioritize public health. Federal protocols already exist for other public health emergencies, such as foodborne illnesses and natural disasters. Why not community exposure to toxic chemicals?
Through virtual meetings, CHEJ has brought together community leaders throughout the country to discuss the structure for an improved response. We first discussed flaws in the government’s current approach to evaluating chemically-associated health conditions and brainstormed overarching principles for an alternative response. We identified four areas where change is necessary and subsequently divided into working groups to discuss reforms across each of them. Each group compiled a draft narrative explaining their component of the response.
Our next step is to convert these narratives into a cohesive report of what a community-driven health investigation might look like. We are also inviting doctors, researchers, epidemiologists, and scholars into our conversation to discuss the more technical steps of conducting health investigations.
If you want to learn more about this project, please contact us at email@example.com. We invite you to explore the resources below to view some of the ideas we have brainstormed at our community meetings.
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