Unequal Response Unequal Protection Campaign

Federal Response to Area-Wide Chemical Exposure

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 info@chej.org. We invite you to explore the resources below to view some of the ideas we have brainstormed at our community meetings.

Resources

CHEJ Unequal Response Brief Overview

CHEJ Unequal Response Breakout Group Notes

CHEJ Unequal Response Narrative Q&A Notes

CHEJ Unequal Response Exploratory Meetings Notes

CHEJ Unequal Response Meeting Notes September 24, 2020

CHEJ Unequal Response Meeting Notes Oct 15, 2020

CHEJ Unequal Response Meeting Notes Nov 5, 2020

Know the Issues

Superfund

Fracking

Healthy Water Healthy Kids

Toxic Chemicals

Climate Change

Healthy Neighborhoods

No More Sacrifice Zones

Community Stories

Northern Birmingham Still Dealing with Human Rights Issues: Living Room Leadership with Charlie Powell

December 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Northern Birmingham Still Dealing with Human Rights Issues: Living Room Leadership with Charlie Powell

By: Ruth Rodriguez, Communications Intern Charlie Powell, of People Against Neighborhood Industrial Contamination (PANIC) in Birmingham, AL shared his experience as an activist for CHEJ’s Living Room Leadership series. He has been fighting to get [...]

A Nuclear Fight: Living Room Leadership with Pam Kingfisher

December 9th, 2020|Comments Off on A Nuclear Fight: Living Room Leadership with Pam Kingfisher

By: Ruth Rodriguez, Communications Intern Pam Kingfisher, an experienced community organizer and advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ rights shared her experience for CHEJ’s Living Room Leadership series. Pam has over 30 years of experience in organizing [...]

Justice for Janey: Living Room Leadership with Jerry Ensminger

November 24th, 2020|Comments Off on Justice for Janey: Living Room Leadership with Jerry Ensminger

By: Ruth Rodriguez, Communications Intern Jerry Ensminger, a U.S Marine Corps veteran who led the fight for justice at Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina where severe water contamination went unaddressed and unresolved [...]

They SHALL DENY: Living Room Leadership with Maria Lopez-Nuñez

November 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on They SHALL DENY: Living Room Leadership with Maria Lopez-Nuñez

By: Ruth Rodriguez, Communications Intern “I’m hoping this bill can pave the way for a tidal wave of bills like this across the country.” Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy of Ironbound Community Corporation [...]